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Publishers Weekly Review
Film and TV producer Benedict (The Dynasty) delivers an engrossing biography of LeBron James, the NBA's all-time leading scorer, who is considered by many to be the greatest player to ever grace the court. Drawing from hundreds of interviews and extensive research, Benedict chronicles the star's hardscrabble Akron, Ohio, childhood, when his teen mother struggled to put food on the table and pay for heat, eventually forcing the two to move in with a neighbor. The instability made James "a quiet kid who seldom spoke up," though fortunes shifted when he joined a peewee football team at age nine and gained confidence in his athletic abilities. Benedict takes readers through the athlete's high school basketball days, after which he bypassed college to join the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003; his 2010 move to the Miami Heat; and his eventual return to his home state, helping Cleveland earn its first-ever NBA championship in 2016. LeBron's achievements off the court get their due, from his anti-racist activism to his founding of an elementary school for at-risk children in Akron. This authoritative account renders the athlete's life in fascinating, fine-grained detail, though it gives short shrift to recent developments. (James's tenure with the Los Angeles Lakers--including winning a 2020 NBA championship--gets fewer than 10 pages.) Even devoted fans will emerge with a greater understanding of the superstar. (Apr.)
Booklist Review
Benedict has previously written books on Tiger Woods and on the New England Patriots, both the most dominant forces in their respective sports in this century. Continuing the trend, his latest tackles the man who is known the world over by only his first name: LeBron. At over 500 pages, LeBron is an appropriately epic portrait, yet the book ends not with the conclusion of his career, but only at the indomitable star's latest chapter. As Benedict makes plain throughout, LeBron as both a man and an athlete is ever-evolving. The particulars of LeBron's life and career--from his hardscrabble childhood in Akron, where his mother raised him as a single parent, through his storied high-school basketball career at a largely white Catholic school, to his eventual supremacy in the NBA--are thoroughly fleshed out in Benedict's crisp style and skillfully-set scenes. The author also illustrates the many ways in which LeBron has changed the game both on and off the court, including his role in ushering in a more business-savvy and politically conscious era for NBA players. LeBron, Benedict notes, has navigated free agency and social-justice issues in ways that many previous superstars didn't. While LeBron has been in the public eye for decades, Benedict provides the most comprehensive profile yet in this biography truly fit for the King.
Kirkus Review
The story of King James' rise and reign. Any conversation about the greatest NBA player ever must include LeBron James, a four-time MVP and player on four championship teams. (He just became the league's all-time leading scorer, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.) Veteran sportswriter Benedict frames James' story as a tale of destiny fulfilled. Raised by a poor single mother in Akron, Ohio (his father's identity remains a mystery), James was supported from an early age by coaches and other community members. Shining at both basketball and football, he skipped college and was drafted by his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, in 2003. Benedict describes this path in (overly) deep detail--James doesn't make his NBA debut till nearly halfway through the book. But from there, the narrative is a well-paced account of James' on-court ambitions and struggles with how to wield his celebrity. Early on, he could be closed-off with reporters, waffled over signing a letter criticizing China's human rights record, and famously alienated NBA fans everywhere in 2010 by announcing his decision to "take my talents to South Beach" (and join the Miami Heat) in an overblown hourlong TV special. Benedict suggests that a tight circle of trusted advisers, plus a few championship trophies, helped elevate James as a leader. He effectively played a general manager's role in assembling squads, didn't hesitate to speak out after the murders of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, and was comfortable clapping back at then-President Donald Trump. Benedict correlates James' reputational ups and downs to his relationships with sportswriters--hitting his nadir when he was frosty with the ghostwriter for a book about his high school days, triumphing when he welcomed a Sports Illustrated writer to report his return to the Cavaliers. But James' roles as world-class athlete and media phenomenon are intertwined, and the author ably captures both elements. A deep, occasionally hagiographic dive into the life of a one-of-a-kind superstar. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the #1 bestselling author of The Dynasty and Tiger Woods-- the "definitive...fantastic" ( Sports Illustrated ) 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.

"An absorbing chronicle of talent, character, pluck, and luck" (Wall Street Journal) 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 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 "masterful...propulsive" ( Los Angeles Times ) and unprecedented portrait of one of the world's most captivating figures.
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