LeBron James has been one of the most famous athletes in the entire world ever since he stepped into the spotlight as a standout basketball player at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. LeBron has built an impressive résumé throughout his career that goes way bey0nd basketball.
Even if the cameras have been focused on LBJ for more than half his life, there are things that may not have caught everyone’s attention. Here are five things you may have not known about The King.
1. First-Team All-State
Back at St. Vincent-St. Mary, LeBron James juggled his time on the hardwood with his time on the football field. Even if he was already the star of the high school’s basketball squad, he still mustered enough energy to suit up for the school’s football team.
LeBron played alongside childhood buddy and now-business partner Maverick Carter. LeBron was a wide receiver for the Fighting Irish and played two full seasons for the school. At the end of his sophomore year, LeBron was named First-Team All-State. He recorded a total of 99 career receptions and 27 touchdowns in his short career as a football star.
2. Go Yankees!
One would assume that LeBron James would be a Cleveland Indians fan given his upbringing. However, the Ohio native actually grew up as a a fan of the New York Yankees, looking up to the Yankees and other winning franchises like the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Cowboys.
In 2007, LeBron showed up to an Indians home playoff game against New York proudly wearing a Yankees hat, which drew boos from the home crowd. James did support the Indians when they faced off against the Chicago Cubs in the 2016 World Series, showing up with his Cavs teammates to games.
3. His biological father
LeBron James never met his biological father. James was brought into this world when his mom, Gloria James, was only 16. Anthony McClelland, LeBron’s birth dad, has an extensive criminal record and has never had a real relationship with Gloria.
LeBron’s childhood was a struggle, to say the least. He had to move from place to place with Gloria not having a steady job, and she had to take care of LeBron as a single teenage mom. LeBron spent a lot of years disliking his father, who he felt abandoned them.
As he grew older and matured, James transitioned from anger to inspiration and used his childhood pains to set an example for his kids and many others around the world. Up to this point, LeBron has opted to not meet McClelland.
4. Gloria’s controversial gift
For his 18th birthday, LeBron James was gifted a 2003 Hummer H2 by his mom. Gloria reportedly took out a personal loan of $50,000 to purchase the vehicle, which was a bit contentious given that they were living in public housing in Akron at that time.
This seemingly innocent birthday present almost cost LeBron his high school eligibility as the Ohio High School Athletic Association investigated the matter, stating that the association prohibited gifts of greater value than $100. Being that the car was a gift from family, James was excused and allowed to continue his stellar basketball career in high school.
5. LeBron, the businessman
LeBron James’ financial success began even before he stepped foot in the NBA. Prior to being the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, LeBron already signed a $90 million contract with Nike. His affluence continued to skyrocket with contracts and deals all throughout his career.
As part of his portfolio, LeBron invested in Liverpool FC, one of the biggest football clubs in England back in 2011. His 2% share in the club was valued at $6.5 million in 2011 and blew up to $32 million by 2018, and it’s probably close to $40 million now.
But that’s not even his biggest play off the court.
In 2008, James was given a small stake in Beats by Dre in exchange for being a brand ambassador for the up-and-coming electronic company. After Apple acquired Beats by Dre in 2014, LeBron was cut a check by the company for his “small share.” The amount? $700 million.