NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER * From the #1 bestselling author of The Dynasty and Tiger Woods—the “definitive…fantastic” (Sports Illustrated) biography of basketball superstar LeBron James, based on three years of exhaustive research and more than 250 interviews.
LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of the twenty-first century, and he’s in the conversation with Michael Jordan as the greatest of all time. The reigning king of the game and the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, LeBron wears the crown like he was born with it. Yet his ascent has been anything but effortless and predetermined—the truth is vastly more interesting than that.
What makes LeBron’s story so compelling is how he won his destiny despite overwhelmingly long odds, in a drama worthy of a Dickens novel. As a child, he was a scared and lonely little boy living a nomadic existence in Akron, Ohio. His mother, who had LeBron when she was sixteen, would sometimes leave him on his own. Destitute and fatherless, he missed close to one hundred days of school in the fourth grade. Desperate, his mother placed him with a family that gave him stability and put a basketball in his hands.
“An absorbing chronicle of talent, character, pluck, and luck” (Wall Street Journal) LeBron tells the full, riveting saga of how a child adrift found the will to become a titan. Jeff Benedict, the most celebrated sports biographer of our time, paints a vivid picture of LeBron’s epic origin story, showing the gradual rise of a star who, surrounded by a tight-knit group of teenage friends and adult mentors, accelerated into a speeding comet during high school. Today LeBron produces Hollywood films and television shows, has a social media presence that includes more than one hundred million followers, engages in political activism, takes outspoken stances on racism and social injustice, and transforms lives through his visionary philanthropy. He went from a lost boy in Akron to a beloved hero who uses his fortune to educate underprivileged children and lift up needy families—and brought home Cleveland’s first NBA championship.
But LeBron is more than just the origin story of a GOAT or a recap of his multi-championship, multi-MVP, gold medal–decorated career on the court. Benedict delves into LeBron’s relationship with fame and power: how he has cultivated it, harnessed it, suffered from it, and leveraged it. In these pages, we watch his evolution from a player who avoided politics and was widely criticized for not joining his teammates in protesting China’s role in the Darfur genocide to becoming an athlete who partnered with President Obama; campaigned for Hillary Clinton; became an advocate against gun violence, racism, and voter suppression; and openly clashed with President Trump, empowering other athletes to speak out against social injustice.
To capture LeBron’s extraordinary life, Benedict conducted hundreds of interviews with the people who were involved with LeBron at different stages of his life. He also obtained thousands of pages of primary source documents and mined hundreds of hours of video footage. Destined to be the authoritative account of LeBron’s life, LeBron is a “masterful…propulsive” (Los Angeles Times) and unprecedented portrait of one of the world’s most captivating figures.
About the Author
Jeff Benedict is the bestselling author of seventeen nonfiction books. He’s also a film and television producer. He is the coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller Tiger Woods. The book was the basis of the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary Tiger, which Benedict executive produced. The Dynasty, the definitive inside story of the New England Patriots under Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady, was a New York Times bestseller. The book is the basis of a forthcoming ten-part documentary series for Apple TV+, which Benedict is executive producing. His critically acclaimed book Poisoned is the basis of a Netflix documentary, which Benedict executive produced. His legal thriller Little Pink House was adapted into a motion picture starring Catherine Keener and Jeanne Tripplehorn. Benedict wrote Steve Young’s New York Times bestselling autobiography QB, which was the basis of an NFL Films documentary. Benedict’s upcoming biography of LeBron James will be published in 2023.
“Masterful . . . Propulsive . . . This is a fast break of a book, slicing into the many mini-narratives that James has lived and artfully tying them together to create a portrait of a man who has, by his own design, remained an enigma except to those he decides to trust. Benedict has constructed a sort of sports opera fueled by the drama and emotion surrounding his subject, but never sensationalistic or unfair. . . Benedict’s greatest feat here might be the way he cuts through both the public hysteria surrounding James and the superstar’s own protective field to paint a portrait of a man in full. . . . LeBron isn’t just great sportswriting, it’s also vivid narrative journalism.”
—Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times
“The definitive biography of LeBron James . . . [Readers] will appreciate the perspective Benedict provides when it comes to just how much James changed the perception of what it means to be a modern athlete.”
“Inspiring . . . An absorbing chronicle of talent, character, pluck, and luck.”
—Wall Street Journal
“The definitive biography . . . It’s fantastic. . . . So rich in granular detail.”
—Chris Mannix, Sports Illustrated
“LeBron is fantastic. Add it to your list.”
—Jon Bon Jovi
“An absolutely consumable book. It’s the kind of in-depth reporting and context that you just don’t get. . . . I thought I knew just about everything about LeBron. But the details and the digging here are so fun.”
“Engrossing . . . This authoritative account renders the athlete’s life in fascinating, fine-grained detail. . . . Even devoted fans will emerge with a greater understanding of the superstar.”
“LeBron is an appropriately epic portrait . . . thoroughly fleshed out in Benedict’s crisp style and skillfully-set scenes . . . Benedict provides the most comprehensive profile yet in this biography truly fit for the King.”