Basketball superstar LeBron James, one of the most recognizable athletes in the world, announced Sunday that he was leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers and signing a four-year, $154 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The rise of LeBron James – James drives to the hoop in 2002 as he plays for St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. James was already starting to become a household name in high school, and ESPN was even airing some of his games.
The rise of LeBron James – James shouts instructions during a 2003 game against Mater Dei High School in Los Angeles.
The rise of LeBron James – James, right, plays for St.Vincent-St.Mary in 2003. He would go straight from high school to the NBA, becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.
The rise of LeBron James – James poses in front of a Hummer after a news conference at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in April 2003.
The rise of LeBron James – James poses with his new Cleveland Cavaliers jersey after he was drafted in June 2003.
The rise of LeBron James – James goes for a dunk during an October 2003 game in Sacramento, California. In his first year in the NBA, he won the league's Rookie of the Year Award.
The rise of LeBron James – James, left, takes a portrait with fellow NBA All-Stars Kobe Bryant, right, and Kevin Garnett in February 2005. James has been an All-Star every year since.
The rise of LeBron James – James grimaces during a game against Milwaukee in January 2007.
The rise of LeBron James – James looks over backpacks at Sam's Club in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, in August 2007. James runs a nonprofit organization called the LeBron James Family Foundation, which helps needy children in his hometown area.
The rise of LeBron James – U.S. basketball players receive their gold medals after they defeated Spain at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. From left are Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, James, Carlos Boozer and Michael Redd. James would also win a gold medal on the 2012 Olympic team.
The rise of LeBron James – James stands on stage with rapper Jay-Z during the "Last Chance For Change" concert in Cleveland in October 2008. The event was part of the presidential campaign for Barack Obama.
The rise of LeBron James – James goes to the basket during a March 2009 game against the Boston Celtics. James won the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.
The rise of LeBron James – In July 2010, James speaks at the Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Connecticut. It was there that he announced, live on an ESPN program called "The Decision," that he would be leaving Cleveland to play for the Miami Heat.