LeBron James Dominating NBA Players as a Teenager Amazed Jamal Crawford: ‘This Is Just Unreal’

After a legendary high school career at Saint Vincent-Saint Mary in Akron, Ohio, LeBron James was selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. He was only 18, but Sports Illustrated had already dubbed LBJ the “Chosen One.”

The Cavaliers went 35-47 in 2003-04 and missed the playoffs. However, LeBron was spectacular as a teenager, so much so that three-time Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford was amazed at how dominant the King was.

Jamal Crawford on rookie LeBron James: “This is just unreal”

LeBron’s rookie highlights recently went viral on social media, and Crawford was in awe of the Akron Hammer. The Michigan product played for the Chicago Bulls in 2003-04. Cleveland and Chicago faced each other four times that campaign, and the two teams split the season series 2-2.

LeBron averaged 21.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists against the Bulls as a rookie. He finished his rookie season with stellar averages of 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.6 steals and won the Rookie of the Year Award. The Akron native posted 12 double-doubles and had 13 30-point games.

LeBron’s highest-scoring game as a rookie came on March 27, 2004, against the New Jersey Nets. The point-forward went off for 41 points in 43 minutes while shooting 15-of-29 from the field and a perfect 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. LeBron also dished out 13 assists.

LeBron lived up to the hype which surrounded him as a rookie. However, some pundits questioned whether he could consistently live up to the grand expectations. Boy, were those people wrong.

LeBron James never got complacent after banner rookie year

Many players get complacent after having early success in the NBA. They get enamored with money and women and lose focus on what matters most.

Fortunately for NBA fanatics, LeBron kept his head on a swivel and made basketball his No. 1 priority following his banner rookie year. He worked tirelessly in the summers to improve his game and always came back with something new in his bag each season.

2003-04 is the only season LeBron hasn’t made the All-Star or All-NBA team. He’s averaged over 25.0 points every year since his rookie campaign and could go down as the best all-around player in NBA history since he can score, pass, rebound, and defend at an elite level.

LeBron spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Cavaliers, winning two MVPs and one scoring title. However, he never won a championship and had trouble getting stars to sign with Cleveland in free agency. So in the summer of 2010, LeBron joined the Miami Heat as an unrestricted free agent to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He became the No. 1 villain in the NBA, and every fan base cheered for joy when the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 Finals.

However, ever since he lost to the Mavericks, LeBron has been a different animal.

The King has been a force of nature

LeBron has won two regular-season MVPs, four championships, four Finals MVPs, and one assists title since the Heat lost to the Mavericks. The 17-time All-Star is the only player in NBA history to win three Finals MVPs with different teams. LeBron won two rings and two Finals MVPs with the Heat, one championship and one Finals MVP in his second stint with the Cavaliers, and one title and one Finals MVP with his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

LeBron has career averages of 27.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 7.4 assists with the Cavaliers, Heat, and Lakers. If someone would have told you that King James would eventually be second in NBA history in player efficiency rating, fifth in points per game, third in points, seventh in assists, 11th in steals, and fifth in triple-doubles during his rookie season, you probably wouldn’t have believed that person.

However, that’s where LeBron ranks in the all-time stats. He is the only player in NBA history to rank top-100 in points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and 3-pointers and second in NBA Finals history in points, sixth in points per game, second in field goals, second in assists, second in steals, and sixth in blocks. 

LeBron was incredible to watch as a rookie. It’s been even more wonderful to watch him grow as a player and man since 2003 and establish himself as arguably the GOAT.

Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference

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