In 2010, Cavs fans across Ohio burned LeBron James' jersey in effigy when he "took his talents to South Beach." Six years later those same haters are kissing the ground he walks on. Down 3-1 in the 2016 NBA Finals to the greatest regular-season team ever, LeBron not only fulfilled his destiny to "get one for the 'Land," he did so in historic fashion. Other-worldly performances in three straight elimination games delivered Cleveland the elusive championship the city has longed for after 52 years of heartache.
Drafted by the Cavaliers in 2003, no player made the jump from high school to the NBA with more media hype and anticipation than LeBron James. He was just a junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary's in Akron, Ohio when Sports Illustrated put him on the cover and called him "The Chosen One." In 2003 Nike signed LeBron James to a $90 million endorsement deal before he even played his first NBA game. Drafted #1 overall by his native Cleveland Cavaliers, the 18-year-old kicked off his pro career with a 25-point
performance against the Sacramento Kings to set an NBA record for most
points scored by a prep-to-pro player in a regular-season debut. This monumental lot takes us back to LeBron's iconic rookie season and features his very first signature model Nike shoes, the Air Zoom Generation.
Inspired by LeBron's H2 Hummer that he controversially drove in high school, several colorways were made. This white, black and crimson pair is perhaps the most coveted because it style-matches the same colorway LeBron wore in his October 29, 2003 debut in Sacramento when he threw down his first NBA dunk, a signature Tomahawk jam with 3:04 remaining in the first quarter (2:10 mark of video at bottom). LeBron was an easy choice for 2003-04 Rookie of the Year, becoming just the third player (along with Michael Jordan and Oscar Robertson) in history to average over 20 points, 5 assists, and 5 rebounds as a rookie.
The interior tagging indicates size 15.5 with a "SP04" label verifying the shoes were player-issued for LeBron's rookie season. They show even wear inside and out with appropriate heal drag and and interior sweating. A letter from MEARS confirms their game use and a certificate of authenticity from Upper Deck Authenticated, LeBron's exclusive memorabilia provider, verifies James' autograph on the left shoe. Also included is correspondence from the original owner, who obtained them through a member of LeBron's family in Ohio. In December 2015, LeBron signed a $1 billion lifetime contract with Nike"”the first lifetime deal ever announced by the apparel giant. This, along with the fact that Nike has yet to release any retro versions of LeBron's sneaker line, makes LeBron's original pair (his first rookie gamers ever offered publicly from our research) a treasure for any basketball collector that will only appreciate in value as LeBron builds on his legacy.
LOA from MEARS to verify game use. COA from Upper Deck for autograph. Pre-certified by PSA/DNA (auto).