LeBron James Through the Years

A look back at the career of one of today's biggest names in the NBA.

36 photos
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AP
The wait continues for the next decision. At stake for LeBron James: Where he plays for the next few seasons, and which fan base _ the already-scorned one in Cleveland or the panicked one in Miami _ will undoubtedly feel alienated by whatever choice his latest foray into free agency leads him to make.
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Jarrett Jack #0 of the Brooklyn Nets and Joe Johnson #7 of the Brooklyn Nets put pressure on LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the second half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 19, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Cavaliers defeated the Nets 95-91.
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LeBron James wore a shirt emblazoned with the last words of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died after police used a chokehold to restrain him, during warms up before a game against the Brooklyn Nets on December 8, 2014.
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Mike Lawrie/Getty Images)
LeBron James #23 and Kevin Love #0 of the Cleveland Cavaliers react after a play in the second half as Andrew Wiggins #22 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks on at Quicken Loans Arena on December 23, 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
LeBron James announced his return to Cleveland nearly 4 years after he left for Miami. In an essay announcing his return he said, "Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It's where I walked. It's where I ran. It's where I cried. It's where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart. People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I'm their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me... My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn't realize that four years ago. I do now.
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LeBron tweeted this instagram photo shortly after the announcement.
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Lebron James smiles during the Lebron James Skills Academy Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Las Vegas.
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LeBron James listens to a question during a news conference after Game 5 of the NBA basketball finals against the San Antonio Spurs, on Sunday, June 15, 2014, in San Antonio. The Spurs won the NBA championship 104-87.
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Getty Images
LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat reacts on the bench against the San Antonio Spurs during Game Five of the 2014 NBA Finals at the AT&T Center on June 15, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.
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Playing forward for the Miami Heat LeBron James (6) dribbles the ball as San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) defends, during the second half in Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals, June 12, 2014, in Miami.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Miami Heat forward LeBron James front and guard Dwyane Wade arrive before Game 2 of the NBA basketball finals against the San Antonio Spurs, on Sunday, June 8, 2014, in San Antonio.
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LeBron James celebrates a teammate's 3-pointer in the final minute of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 18, 2014, in Dallas. James scored 42 points in the 117-106 Heat win.
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LeBron James scores a break away dunk in front of Indiana Pacers forward Paul George during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, March 26, 2014.
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A fan runs out on the court towards Miami Heat's LeBron James during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on March 20, 2013, in Cleveland. Miami won 98-95. James left the Cavaliers to play for the Heat in 2010.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) adjusts his mask during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks in Miami, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2014.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade holds the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy, left, and LeBron James holds the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award after Game 7 of the NBA basketball championships, Friday, June 21, 2013, in Miami. The Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win their second straight NBA championship.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
The Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade holds the the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy and LeBron James holds his most valuable player trophy after Game 5 of the NBA finals basketball series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday, June 22, 2012, in Miami. The Heat won 121-106 to become the 2012 NBA Champions.
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Getty Images
LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat looks at his 2012 NBA Championship ring following a ceremony prior to the season opener against the Boston Celtics at AmericanAirlines Arena on Oct. 30, 2012 in Miami.
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This Sept. 30, 2013, file photo shows Miami Heat basketball player player LeBron James posed during the team's media day in Miami.
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Yelena Yemchuck for Rachel Comey
LeBron James offered a helping hand to President Obama's Affordable Care Act
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
United States' LeBron James and Kevin Durant react during the men's gold medal basketball game against Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, in London. USA won 107-100.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
In a photo provided by ESPN, LeBron James sits with Jim Gray before an interview on ESPN on Thursday, July 8, 2010, in Greenwich, Conn. The show called, "The Decision" ran over an hour long and drew criticism for the prolonged announcement and the spectacle of the show itself. The phrase "taking my talents to South Beach" became a punch line for critics.
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Getty Images
Gold medallists Carmelo Anthony #15 of the United States, LeBron James #6 of the United States and Kobe Bryant #10 of the United States celebrate following the medal ceremony for the Men's Basketball on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England.
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Miami Heat small forward LeBron James reacts during a news conference, Monday, June 11, 2012, in Oklahoma City. Game 1 of NBA basketball finals between the Heat and Oklahoma City Thunder is Tuesday.
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
Miami Heat forward LeBron James reacts to his dunk against the Phoenix Suns during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, in Phoenix.
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East All-Star LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers goes up for a basket during the third quarter of the NBA All-Star basketball game Feb. 14, 2010, at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
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Prior to signing with the Heat, James (23) playing for Cleveland drives past Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade (3) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Feb. 4, 2010, in Cleveland.
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Getty Images
After winning two NBA All-Star MVP titles, James was named the 2009 NBA MVP. "I'm 24 years old and I'm receiving this award, I never thought it would happen this fast," he said as he accepted the award in his hometown gym at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
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In the final minute of the 2008 All-Star Game, however, LeBron turned the game around by stealing a pass and dunking to break the tied score. The Eastern Conference ultimately won with a score of 134-128.
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Getty Images
James faced Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant during the 2007 NBA All-Star match-up, and couldn't pull out a victory for the Eastern Conference.
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But LeBron lived up to the attention by earning the title of 2004 NBA Rookie of the Year.
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There was much anticipation about James' rookie season, hyped by a $90 million contract with Nike before he played a single game with the Cavs.
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In June 2003, James was chosen as the first draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers straight out of high school. He is the youngest player in NBA history to be drafted #1 overall.
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Getty Images
Rookies LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers (left) and Carmelo Anthony of the Denver Nuggets speak at a press conference for the NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on February 13, 2004. (Photo by Kirby Lee/Getty Images)
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ASSOCIATED PRESS
LeBron James, a guard from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, talks to reporters at a news conference for top NBA draft prospects Wednesday, June 25, 2003 in New York. The 2003 NBA draft will be Thursday in New York.
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Sporting News via Getty Images
St. Vincent High School LeBron James against R.J. Reynolds High School at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC on Jan. 15, 2003
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