Between 2000 and 2004, I worked on about 85 assignments as a stringer for Time. Easily, one of my favorites was reporting on LeBron James during his senior year at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio.
To see some of my first reporting on LeBron, while he was in high school, click here.
I also reported on him early in his rookie year with the Cleveland Cavaliers. You can see that writing here.
Three times during a formative 11-month span in this phenomenal talent’s life, I dropped in on LeBron’s World, interviewing him, his coaches, friends and a longtime support network of adults.
The first time, in December 2002, I met a reporter for the Akron Beacon-Journal, David Lee Morgan Jr. I could tell, within a few minutes, that Morgan was working on a book on LeBron. Though he coyly resisted confirming my suspicion, neither did he deny it.
So it was no surprise a short time later—I think it was during LeBron’s rookie year in the NBA—that I came across Morgan’s “LeBron James: The Rise of a Star.”
On my second trip to Akron, in January 2003, I met Kris Belman (pictured below, with James). He explained that what had begun as a film school class assignment had mushroomed into a documentary on LeBron and his teammates.
He took a few minutes to interview me (cutting-room floor material, I strongly suspect) at “The JAR”—the James A. Rhodes Arena where LeBron’s team played its home games.
Little did I know that it would be the better part of a decade—by which time LeBron has more than lived up to the rarefied billing with which he entered the pros—that the documentary would start appearing on screens across the country.