NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the #1 bestselling author of The Dynasty and Tiger Woods comes the definitive biography of basketball superstar LeBron James, based on three years of exhaustive research and more than 250 interviews.
LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of the twenty-first century, and he’s in the conversation with Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time. The reigning king of the game and the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, LeBron wears the crown like he was born with it. Yet his ascent has been anything but effortless and predetermined— the truth is vastly more interesting than that.
What makes LeBron’s story so compelling is how he won his destiny despite overwhelmingly long odds, in a drama worthy of a Dickens novel. As a child, he was a scared and lonely little boy living a nomadic existence in Akron, Ohio. His mother, who had LeBron when she was sixteen, would sometimes leave him on his own. Destitute and fatherless, he missed close to one hundred days of school in the fourth grade. Desperate, his mother placed him with a family that gave him stability and put a basketball in his hands.
LeBron tells the full, riveting saga of how a child adrift found the will to become a titan. Jeff Benedict, the most celebrated sports biographer of our time, paints a vivid picture of LeBron’s epic origin story, showing the gradual rise of a star who, surrounded by a tight-knit group of teenage friends and adult mentors, accelerated into a speeding comet during high school. Today LeBron produces Hollywood films and television shows, has a social media presence that includes more than one hundred million followers, engages in political activism, takes outspoken stances on racism and social injustice, and transforms lives through his visionary philanthropy. He went from a lost boy in Akron to a beloved hero who uses his fortune to educate underprivileged children and lift up needy families—and brought home Cleveland’s first NBA championship.
But LeBron is more than just the origin story of a GOAT or a recap of his multi-championship, multi-MVP, gold medal–decorated career on the court. Benedict delves into LeBron’s relationship with fame and power: how he has cultivated it, harnessed it, suffered from it, and leveraged it. In these pages, we go behind the scenes of LeBron’s grappling with his seismic celebrity, from appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated as a high school junior to The Decision, which briefly turned the nation against him. We also watch his evolution from a player who avoided politics and was widely criticized for not joining his teammates in protesting China’s role in the Darfur genocide to becoming an athlete who partnered with President Obama; campaigned for Hillary Clinton; became an advocate against gun violence, racism, and voter suppression; and openly clashed with President Trump, empowering other athletes to speak out against social injustice.
To capture LeBron’s extraordinary life, Benedict conducted hundreds of interviews with the people who were involved with LeBron at different stages of his life. He also obtained thousands of pages of primary source documents and mined hundreds of hours of video footage. Destined to be the authoritative account of LeBron’s life, LeBron is a gripping, inspiring, and unprecedented portrait of one of the world’s most captivating figures.