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Lawyer sues basketball star LeBron James, alleging he is his father

By Bill Mears, CNN
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This man says he's LeBron's dad
  • NEW: Stovell says he wants a "secure" DNA test to prove paternity
  • NEW: Lawyer says his memories were "amplified" in recent years
  • James will announce Thursday night with which team he'll sign
  • Lawsuit says Stovell had one-time tryst with James' mother

Washington (CNN) -- A Washington lawyer has filed a lawsuit in federal court, claiming he is the father of basketball star LeBron James.

Leicester Stovell alleges that the athlete and his family have been involved in a cover-up to deny paternity by committing fraud and misrepresentation. He told HLN's "Prime News" on Thursday that he wants "a carefully structured and secure DNA test" to prove he's the NBA all-star's father.

Stovell says he has been trying for three years to establish paternity and is seeking $4 million in damages. An earlier test ruled out the possibility, but he said the test could have been tampered with -- "and there are indications that there was a motivation."

Stovell said he had sex with James' mother, Gloria James, after meeting at a Washington bar while she was visiting from Ohio in 1984. A few months later, she told him she was pregnant, but did not say whether he was the father.

Stovell said his only request was that the child, if a boy, play basketball. He said his memory of the encounter resurfaced more than 20 years later, "after being asked whether I had a son, and I then systematically explored all of my past for that possibility."

"I came across this set of recollections and in focusing on them, they amplified," he said.

In the complaint, filed June 23, Stovell says, "I recently have concluded that a comprehensive, sophisticated and well-funded effort might well have been underway for quite some time, perhaps beginning in its present form as early as when defendant LeBron James was in high school, to frustrate identification of his real father, and that there is a likelihood that the father in question is me."

He stopped short of saying he is certain he is James' father. "I don't want to make such a definitive statement in the absence of corroborative evidence" such as DNA, he said.

Stovell said he filed the suit two weeks ago because a statute of limitations was about to expire. "I have some limitation considerations that caused me to want to file the suit before the end of June," he said.

He denied the timing had anything to do with the current LeBron mania.

James is scheduled to announce Thursday evening the team he has chosen to play for next season, a deal worth perhaps tens of millions of dollars or more. He currently plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

He says he was informed by Gloria James months later that she was pregnant. He claims she told him the child would be named LeBron, similar to Leicester Bryce, Stovell's first and middle names.

The lawsuit states Gloria James was 16 at the time of the alleged encounter, but Stovell said she told him she was in her early 20s.

Stovell is a solo legal practitioner in the District of Columbia, and filed the lawsuit on his own behalf. A call to LeBron James' attorney, Frederick Nance of Cleveland, Ohio, was not immediately returned.

The lawsuit had been filed without much initial publicity, but was reported by the TMZ celebrity website Wednesday.

Public records show Stovell is a former government attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission. He filed a lawsuit in 2002 against the agency, alleging racial discrimination. Federal court records show the case was settled when the commission paid him $230,000, while not admitting fault.

CNN's Jason Kessler contributed to this report