By Desmond Edwards (High School of Sports Management)

On Sunday September 20 2009, my school granted me an invitation to LeBron James “More Than a Game” Community Day at Basketball City (Pier 36). Being there was a dream come true for any true fan that admires LeBron “King” James. Without question, the event was well thought out and very successful. From live performances to the pick-up games, everything was a huge success and I was extremely thankful that I was able to attend this event for free. Seeing LeBron James made me very cheerful, considering that he is such an influential leader. His background makes his life and accomplishments all the more since he went through many early struggles in life. Not only is LeBron the best basketball player in the game, but he is also a business man, that will forever be a positive influence in my life and many other people globally.

During the event, I learned many different things. Using my knowledge from courses provided at my school, the High School of Sports Management, as they related to business management and marketing, I connected it to the event and expanded my understandings. I observed that the event was not only for LeBron James’ fans, but it was also to inform people of his new products: his new sneakers, movie and book. The event helped me understand advertising without commercials and billboards and without question, it was very successful. Furthermore, after attending the event, I now have a better understanding about what it takes to promote products and I will certainly use these acquired observations in my everyday life.

Every part of the event was appealing but LeBron’s entrance on the stage was the culminating moment. As previously mentioned, it was a dream come true, since LeBron is my favorite basketball player and it was a personal goal for me to meet him face to face. What really made this my best part was my position standing front and center. When “King” James took, his seat it signified the most jovial moment in my memory. Furthermore, the modest and professional attitude of James made me enjoy the event more. The fact that LeBron’s friends indicated that success has not altered his personality demonstrated the qualities of a leader and true friend. Additionally, no part of the event disappointed me, the two-hour wait for LeBron turned out to be worth it. I never thought I would ever get that close to LeBron; as a result, I was very blissful.

LeBron James is currently the best basketball player in the NBA and has always played at a dominant level, especially for his age. It is understandable, that “King” James was not born into success and fame. Like most teenagers, I know he did not know his father and spent his childhood moving around Akron Ohio with his mother Gloria James. They were not financially stable and to keep himself off the streets, James played basketball. Furthermore, at a young age it was apparent that LeBron admired the game of basketball. When he got to high school, he dominated from start to finish and became the only sophomore to be named Ohio’s “Mr. Basketball” and he also won the championship at his High School all four years. Just as he does in the National Basketball Association (NBA) today, LeBron was a powerful and helpful presence to whatever game he played in. With such superior skills, King James was drafted number one overall pick out of St. Vincent – St. Mary High School to the NBA. The Cleveland Cavaliers chose him (where he currently plays today). Additionally, James was very fortunate, since he was able to stay at home in Ohio. Moreover, his first year in the NBA he continued to dominate the game, and he joined Oscar Robertson and Michael Jordan, as the only players to average at least 20-points, 5-rebounds and 5-assist, in their rookie season. Additionally, James won the Rookie of the Year award and became the youngest player to score 41-points in a contest. In 2007, James led his team to the NBA finals, where his team was unfortunately swept by the San Antonio Spurs. Although LeBron and the Cavaliers were swept, he played at an outstand level, despite his average team. LeBron was also part of the 2008 USA Olympic basketball team, which won the gold medal. Moreover, this past year James was able to continue his success since his team finished the regular season with the best record of 66-16, and the small forward won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award averaging 28-points, 7-reboounds and 7-assist. With his incredible attitude of a leader, LeBron James accepted the award at his high school, where it all began. During the ’09 postseason, James came up short and was ousted in the Eastern Conference Finals by the Orlando Magic. Once again, James played at an unbelievable level and posted numbers in the postseason, which were remarkable. Adding to his achievements, James currently leads the NBA in triple doubles, and is second in scoring. Without a doubt, LeBron James will post more achievements during this upcoming season and hopefully his first NBA championship for himself and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

LeBron James is a very advanced and perceptive basketball player, but that is not the only exceptional part of him. His life is “More Than a Game” of basketball. The aforementioned excerpt means that LeBron playing basketball at a high level is not the only part of his life. His struggles and everyday problems before fame were also included. “King” James’ life went beyond being a dominant player he saw conflicts just as any other person would. As previously mentioned, LeBron and his mother Gloria James were not financially fit and aside from him playing basketball, he grew up without a father in a poor area. The aforementioned problems helped create the phrase, “More Than a Game” since there is more to LeBron or any person that meets the eye. My best prediction is the movie, “More Than a Game,” will give the world a perfect understand of LeBron’s life behind the basketball court and we can see why it is not only a game.

I would like to thank Athletes for Charity and Nike, Inc. for providing this opportunity for me to participate with The High School of Sports Management. Ever since the “More Than a Game” event, I have decided what I want for the future and I am very thankful. The day was well planned and I was left with an abundance of joy, since I had the opportunity to meet my idol and the NBA’s MVP. In the future, I will remember this event forever; it was the best moments of my life and the best event that I have ever been to. Thankfully “we are all witnesses,” to the achievements of LeBron “King” James.

*** Athletes for Charity is proud to announce that 10 of our teens were recognized as Nike GameChangers during LeBron James “More than a Game” Community Day: James Cooper, Nathaniel Kelliehan, Noah Morton, Luke Morton, Tyree Stewart, Shomari Calender, Morgan Bello, Naquan Jones, Christian Padilla and Elsa Hiraldo.