“I’m gonna go to Chicago, and I’m gonna tell everyone I just saw the best basketball player ever”

LeBron James is one of basketball’s best players ever, and former NBA player JJ Redick knew of that potential at a very young age. Both are 37 years old, coming up in the high school basketball world together.

On ESPN’s “First Take,” Redick told a story from 2001, when Reddick played against James at a Team USA youth development basketball camp. Redick repeated what one of his friends, Sean Dockery, said while talking about the camp. Redick said:

“We were going around, what are we going to take back from this camp? What are we going to tell our friends? And my homie Sean Dockery, who went to Duke with me, said, ‘I’m gonna go to Chicago, and I’m gonna tell everyone I just saw the best basketball player ever’… We were 16 when Sean said that, and he wasn’t wrong. Like if it’s not Michael, it’s LeBron. ”

.@jj_redick shares a story about competing against a 16-year old LeBron and knowing how great he would become ???? “He has AT LEAST reached the bar!” https://t.co/EoDSH55saf

At such a young age, it was undeniable that the now LA Lakers All-Star was something special. When James was drafted first overall out of high school, his rise to fame continued.

The argument between who is better between Michael Jordan and James will always exist. However, to even be discussed in the conversation is an achievement all on its own. So, Dockery was correct with what he said.

LeBron James’ early rise to greatness

LeBron James while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James while playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers

It did not take long for LeBron James to have an immediate impact once he was drafted first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003. He was drafted straight out of high school, where he played and looked like a force of nature.

In his four years in high school, James had monster totals, scoring 2,657 points with 892 rebounds and 523 assists. It was clear that James was a complete player already and did not need to play in college to boost his draft stock or get more accustomed to a more difficult talent level.

(2003) Highlights from LeBron James scoring 52 points in a high school game! https://t.co/SC5DJYm4fH

James won the 2003-04 Rookie of the Year, averaging 20.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 39.5 minutes. It was clear the Cavaliers would ride James to victory, even as a rookie, playing him such heavy minutes. James nearly doubled the team’s winnings, with the Cavaliers only winning 17 games before and then winning 37 games after James arrived.

That heavy workload continued as James averaged over 40 minutes per game over the next four seasons. The Cavaliers finally made the playoffs in his third season and the NBA Finals in his fourth, getting swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

James’ start to his career only validated his high school stardom. He looked ready for the league and quickly became one of the league’s best players.

Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein

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