LeBron James taught his future NBA rival and current Lakers teammate Trevor Ariza a lesson during his senior year of high school.
LeBron is, without exception, the most hyped prospect in the history of the sport of basketball. There have been other highly touted players who were expected to enter the league and dominate. The names of Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spring to mind.
But neither of these prospects was scouted by scores of NBA teams during their teenage years. It was a different time and a different game with vastly different rules back then.
The hype for James was such that Michael Jordan even remarked once that James could’ve played in the NBA as a sophomore in high school. A feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated and another dominant high school year later, the country watched its latest sports star begin his legend.
Every single game from James’ high school year was televised and made available to the public. The scouts were at a loss for words when they saw James. His combination of size, strength and IQ along with his pure athleticism and explosion was unheard of.
When LeBron James took trash talk from Ariza and his uncle personally and dropped 52 points
The rise and rise of James was obviously a cause for jealousy for some players among his peers. Trevor Ariza and his uncle, for example, didn’t think all that much of the Akron kid.
Ariza announced that he intended to lock James down in their high school encounter. The UCLA recruit played for Westchester school, while James played for St. Vincent St. Mary’s. What happened in that encounter sealed James’ legend and his status as the no. 1 pick.
LeBron ended up scoring 52 points in that game, including 35 by halftime. He had 18 points by himself to finish the first quarter of that game out. James was laughing and joking with referees before halftime!
Ariza and his uncle, meanwhile, were forced to eat humble pie and concede James’ superiority.