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; born December 30, 1984) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
His accomplishments include three NBA championships, four NBA Most Valuable Player Awards, three NBA Finals MVP Awards, and two Olympic gold medals.
James decided to join with Bosh and Wade in part so that he could shoulder less of the offensive load; he thought that his improved teammates would give him a better chance of winning an NBA championship than had he stayed in Cleveland.
Upon leaving the Cavaliers, James drew intense criticism from sports analysts, executives, fans, and current and former players.
For his 18th birthday, he skirted state amateur bylaws by accepting a Hummer H2 as a gift from his mother, who had secured a loan for the vehicle by utilizing James's future earning power as an NBA superstar.
This prompted an investigation by the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) because its guidelines stated that no amateur may accept any gift valued over 0 as a reward for athletic performance.
James was cleared of any wrongdoing because he had accepted the luxury vehicle from a family member and not from an agent or any outside source.
Later in the season, James accepted two throwback jerseys worth 5 from an urban clothing store in exchange for posing for pictures, officially violating OHSAA rules and resulting in him being stripped of his high school sports eligibility.
Many thought that the prolonged wait for James's choice was unprofessional as not even the teams courting him were aware of his decision until moments before the show.
Realizing that her son would be better off in a more stable family environment, Gloria allowed him to move in with the family of Frank Walker, a local youth football coach who introduced James to basketball when he was nine years old. Before the start of his junior year, James was featured in Slam, an American basketball magazine, and writer Ryan Jones lauded him as possibly "the best high school basketball player in America right now".
Throughout his senior year, James and the Fighting Irish traveled around the country to play a number of nationally-ranked teams, including a game against Oak Hill Academy that was nationally televised on ESPN2.
He participated in three year-end high school basketball all-star games—the EA Sports Roundball Classic, the Jordan Capital Classic, and the Mc Donald's All-American Game—losing his National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility and making it official that he would enter the 2003 NBA draft.
Also during his senior year, James was the centerpiece of several controversies.
After his fourth season with the Heat in 2014, James opted out of his contract to re-sign with the Cavaliers.