LeBron Raymone James Sr. (//; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Widely considered one of the greatest NBA players in history, James is frequently compared to Michael Jordan in debates over the greatest basketball player of all time. Playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, and Los Angeles Lakers, James is the only player in NBA history to have won NBA championships with three franchises as Finals MVP. He has competed in ten NBA Finals, including eight consecutive with the Heat and Cavaliers from 2011 through 2018. His accomplishments include four NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, four Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals. During his 17-year career, James holds the record for all-time playoffs points, is third in all-time points, and eighth in career assists. James has been selected to the All-NBA First Team a record 13 times, made the All-Defensive First Team five times, and has been named an All-Star 17 times, including three All-Star MVP selections.
James played basketball for St. Vincent–St. Mary High School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he was heavily touted by the national media as a future NBA superstar. A prep-to-pro, he was selected by Cleveland with the first overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft. Named the 2003–04 NBA Rookie of the Year, he soon established himself as one of the league's premier players, winning the NBA MVP Award in 2009 and 2010. After failing to win a championship with Cleveland, James left in 2010 to sign as a free agent with Miami. This move was announced in an ESPN special titled The Decision, and is one of the most controversial free agent decisions in sports history.
James won his first two NBA championships while playing for the Heat in 2012 and 2013; in both of these years, he also earned league MVP and Finals MVP. After his fourth season with the Heat in 2014, James opted out of his contract to re-sign with the Cavaliers. In 2016, he led the Cavaliers to victory over the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals by coming back from a 3–1 deficit, delivering the franchise's first championship and ending Cleveland's 52-year professional sports title drought. In 2018, James opted out of his contract with the Cavaliers to sign with the Lakers, where he won the 2020 championship and was awarded his fourth Finals MVP.
Off the court, James has accumulated additional wealth and fame from numerous endorsement contracts. He has been featured in books, documentaries, television commercials (including winning a Sports Emmy Award for a documentary as an executive producer), and has hosted the ESPY Awards (including winning 19 ESPY Awards in his own right) and Saturday Night Live. In 2015, he appeared in the film Trainwreck. As a part-owner of Liverpool F.C. since 2011, James has a Premier League championship to his credit, with the club having won the 2020 title.
Having become more involved in philanthropic and activist pursuits later in his career, James's charitable organization (LeBron James Family Foundation) helped open a school, housing complex, and community center/retail plaza in his hometown of Akron.
- Various reliable sources have commented on James often being considered the greatest basketball player of all-time and therefore whether or not he has surpassed Jordan as the greatest; see, for example:
- Ryan, Bob (May 13, 2017). "Who's the GOAT, Michael or LeBron?". The Boston Globe. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
- Pelton, Kevin (May 10, 2018). "LeBron or MJ? How the King is settling the GOAT debate". ESPN. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
- Botkin, Brad (January 2, 2019). "LeBron James had at least one thing right when he declared himself the greatest player of all time". CBS Sports. Retrieved October 24, 2019.
- Olivieri, Anthony (February 14, 2019). "GOATs on GOATs: LeBron and MJ in their own words through the years". ESPN. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- Davis, Scott (March 18, 2019). "Most Americans think Michael Jordan is the 'GOAT' over LeBron James, and it's not even close". Business Insider. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- Posnanski, Joe. "The great debate: Would you rather have LeBron James or Michael Jordan?". NBC Sports. Retrieved April 1, 2020.
- Staff, From NBA com. "LeBron James makes history, wins Finals MVP with 3 different franchises". NBA.com. Retrieved October 12, 2020.
- Welcome to House Thre Thirty - Lebron James Family Foundation