NBA superstar LeBron James’ life has always been about basketball. From his high school days at St. Vincent-St. Mary, to his pro days with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and LA Lakers, he has become the iconic celebrity he is today because of what he has been able to do on the basketball court. However, during his high school career, there was one instance where basketball didn’t come first for LeBron James; Romeo and Juliet did.
LeBron James was an unreal high school basketball star
LeBron James was potentially the most hyped high school basketball player of all-time. At St. Vincent-St. Mary in Akron, Ohio, James led his team to three state championships and a national championship, according to the school’s site.
As a junior, Sports Illustrated even deemed him as “The Chosen One,” and people filed into high school arenas to watch him play basketball.
His play led to him going to the NBA straight out of high school and getting selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA draft by his home team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
However, while it appears that James’ life has always been all about basketball, basketball, and more basketball, Romeo and Juliet once came first.
‘Romeo and Juliet’ once came before basketball
Although LeBron James was a superstar basketball player in high school, he was still a good student, too.
“The LeBron that you see is genuinely the kid he’s been, just even better,” his high school teacher Beth Dolan said, according to The Athletic. “To me, he was always extremely courteous and silly and he would know when to turn it on and turn it off. I think some of the earliest things that I remember most about him is when they were freshmen, LeBron specifically would come in my room and study and like leave; a study hall so he can get work done.”
James was then about to play in the state championship game with his high school team, but he had to make sure that he got his Romeo and Juliet project finished first.
“They were going to their first (Ohio basketball state) championship as freshmen, and he was in this room turning in a project early on Romeo and Juliet, and making sure he had it all in and turned into me,” she said, according to The Athletic. “He was like, ‘We’re going to be there all weekend and I need to get this done.’”
She continued: “It was kind of a scrapbook of ‘pick current people to be Romeo and Juliet’ and I think they picked like 50 Cent, and whoever else was cool at the time. I can’t tell you everything that was in it now, but it was a project that wasn’t due ’til after the state championship. But he wanted to make sure.”
It would be interesting to see how much that project is worth now. The whole basketball thing, though, has worked out for James.
LeBron James has become an NBA legend
After going to the Cavaliers with the No. 1 pick in 2003, James instantly became a star. He averaged over 31 points per game in his third season and led the NBA in scoring in his fifth. James also led the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2006-07.
However, ever since 2010-11, he has been on one of the most dominant runs of all-time. LeBron James made eight straight NBA Finals appearances with the Miami Heat and Cavs from 2010-11 through 2017-18. He also ultimately made nine appearances in 10 seasons from 2010-11 through 2019-20, winning four titles during that span, one with the LA Lakers.
In total, James has become a 17-time NBA All-Star and a four-time NBA MVP. James has won NBA Finals MVP four times as well. He is also third in NBA history in points scored and eighth in assists.
Yes, Romeo and Juliet may have come first that week in high school. Basketball, though, has always been at the center of his life and has ultimately worked out for him.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference