Seldom do we see 18-19-year-old players entering the league with the kind of poise and confidence LeBron James had when he held his first professional media conference in the Radisson City Hotel's banquet room in Cleveland.
In recent times the only player that gave off that kind of maturity was Luka Doncic, the Slovenian wonder-kid. But there was a slight difference between 19-year-old Lebron and 19-year-old Luka.
19-year-old Luka came into the league with a resume like no other. He debuted as a pro for BC Barcelona at the age of 16, and by the time he turned 18, he had already won a Euroleague Championship and had been named the youngest Euroleague MVP in history.
19-year-old LeBron, on the other hand, although the most hyped player in the history of US high-school basketball, was still exactly that. Just a hyped high-school senior, skipping college to go the NBA.
My point is that maybe it's a bit more understandable why Luka had that kind of poise at such a young age since he had much more professional basketball experience in comparison to LeBron when they were the same age. Which makes the way LeBron handled himself at that age even more impressive.
Surrounded by a clique of his high-school buddies, James confidently strutted to the podium and took control of the room as soon as he got behind those mics. He had all the cameras on him for the first time in his life, but it seemed as if he had been doing this his whole life.
Nike sweatsuit and headband on (00's fashion was dope, right?) he looked as confident as ever, knowing that this is something he was born to do. For anyone that might have still had doubts up until that point, LeBron turned them into believers as soon as he answered his first question regarding pressure:
"There's no pressure. There's no pressure at all. I've been under getting pressure since I was 10 years old. I don't think there's no pressure for me because I'm doing something that I love to do and that is to play the game of basketball. I'm doing the same thing y'all love to do, and that is watching me play basketball. If I asked y'all that question, y'all would say the same thing. I mean, is there any pressure to ask me these questions? It's no pressure because y'all know how to do what y'all do, right?"
A truly sharp-shooting answer from a kid that grew up to be one of the most dominant basketball players in NBA history. And a 4-time NBA champion since last Sunday. Salute King James!
LeBron's first professional media conference.