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14-Year-Old LeBron James Being Trained to Guard Kobe Bryant Helped Coach Prepare The Chosen One For NBA

Abhishek Dhariwal

14-Year-Old LeBron James Being Trained to Guard Kobe Bryant Helped Coach Prepare The Chosen One For NBA

Even before making it into the league, LeBron James was touted as the next Michael Jordan in the NBA. Labeled as ‘The Chosen One’, James was on the list of every scout in the league, hoping to get their hands on the number one pick back in the 2003 draft. But how was James already receiving so much attention as compared to other players in the draft? Well, his high school coach had a lot to do with that, supposedly.

LeBron James seemed NBA-ready the minute he stepped onto the hardwood floor. However, a lot of that had to do with how James was being trained back in the day by his high school coach, Keith Dambrot.

Making an appearance on the Mind the Game podcast, Keith Dambrot talked about how he chose to train LBJ in order to make him the type of player who would have an instant impact on whatever team he was drafted by.

During the episode, JJ Redick asked coach Dambrot if there was a difference in his approach between training high school and college athletes. Keith Dambrot, who trained LBJ during his high school days, said,

“I had always been a college coach, so when I had that group, I treated them like college players. And they actually had the brains of above that. And then once I knew LeBron was going to be a pro, because I had to have three NBA guys before him, then I started treating him like he had to guard Kobe in four years. So, that’s really how I treated him. I treated him like a pro.”

Still learning the ropes of how to be a professional basketball player from playing amateur ball, LeBron James could not tell the difference in the coaching he had received from his high school coach. James never thought of questioning his head coach out of respect. So, he’d go out there one day after another and work his butt off constantly.

He also went on to reveal how his teammates coming together and their will to win a State championship helped LeBron achieve that milestone in his life. In the end, it worked out well for James as he went on to win three State championships and one national championship before declaring for the NBA draft.

LeBron James got superstar treatment long before the league

‘The Chosen One’ got superstar treatment right from the get-go, even before making it into the league. James was treated as a celebrity even during his high school days, given his talent and will to make it into the league. But his superstar status also managed to get him kicked out of practice one day. However, it was also to set the tone for the upcoming season as well.

14-Year-Old LeBron James Being Trained to Guard Kobe Bryant Helped Coach Prepare The Chosen One For NBA
Credits: USA Today Sports

“The first practice we had in our sophomore year, after winning the state championship, I absolutely did nothing wrong coming out of football, he kicked me out of practice. I think he was just setting the tone for the season.”

Though James was sidelined back in High School once, he did not have any hard feelings toward his coach, knowing all the things he had done for him to prepare him for the league one day.

About the author

Abhishek Dhariwal

Abhishek Dhariwal


A fan of the sport since the late 2000s, Abhishek has been covering the game of basketball for the past five years now. Having done his masters in Journalism and Mass Communication, Abhishek prides himself in being referred to as a sports journalist at The SportsRush. A fan of the San Antonio Spurs since the Tim Duncan era, Abhishek has an extensive knowledge of the sport and has covered more than 1500 articles. Having a firsthand experience of the sport, Abhishek has represented his city and state at a district and national level. And it is the same level of expertise he aims to bring while covering extensive topics both on and off the court of your favorite basketball stars.

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