Between 2000 and 2004, I worked on about 85 assignments as a stringer for Time magazine. 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.
In October, at last, that documentary, "More Than a Game," will be aired in Chicago and other cities. You can see Chicago Tribune reporter K.C. Johnson’s story about it here.