Viral 3-Year-Old LeBron James Picture Gets a Backstory by Lakers Star Himself: “I Went Ape Sh*t”

Published 12/26/2023, 2:24 PM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Over its 77 years of history, only 4,374 hoopers have had the opportunity to play in the NBA. Of the players who do make it to the league, only a select few fulfill their pre-draft expectations. Yet, despite being anointed as the “Chosen One” even before entering the NBA, LeBron James has not only fulfilled those expectations, but remarkably exceeded them. LeBron James will go down in history as one of the greatest basketball players to ever grace the sport.

Despite being a modern NBA icon, however, LeBron has always stayed humble, and has constantly interacted with fans on social media and in person. Recently, King James added some context to his viral 36-year-old Christmas-Day picture.

Backstory to LeBron’s 36-year-old viral picture


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A Twitter page by the username of AuxGod posted a picture of 3-year-old LeBron playing with a mini-hoop on Christmas. Their post went viral and attracted widespread media attention, with even ESPN’s sportscenter reacting to the picture.

An X (formerly Twitter) user by the name of Channel Zero wrote, “Might be the greatest return on investment in the history of mankind.” However, little did people know that LeBron James himself will provide context to that picture. In a story posted on his Instagram handle, LeBron explained the backstory of the picture. 


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He wrote, “Merry Xmas!! Moms tried lowering the rim and I went ape shit!! She put it back at the highest it could go! Only child chronicles!” The caption was accompanied by several laughing emojis. LeBron James was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio and faced challenges growing up in a single-parent household.

LeBron attended St. Vincent-St. Mary high-school, where he became a multi-discipline athlete. James played for the football team as well as the basketball team of the school. However, fortunately for basketball fans, LeBron decided to pursue basketball as his primary sport.


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LeBron’s legendary high-school career

LeBron James’ high school career was legendary, to say the least. He attended St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, leading the basketball team to three state championships. LeBron gained national attention, earning the title of “The Chosen One.” In his senior year (2002), he averaged a remarkable 31 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per game.


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His dominance on the court garnered widespread media coverage, and he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, solidifying his status as a future NBA star. LeBron skipped college and declared for the 2003 NBA Draft, where he was selected as the first overall pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers. His high school achievements and subsequent NBA success marked the beginning of an illustrious career.

Watch this Story: “Luka Doncic joins LeBron James, Michael Jordan and other NBA legends in historic list after another 50-point performance”


Written by:

Dushyant Singh


One take at a time

Dushyant Singh is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. His basketball script journey began in 2020 when he was captivated by the Los Angeles Lakers? triumphant NBA championship win. Before that he was merely dribbling and dunking as a boy next door.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra