"LeBron James: The Making of an MVP'' chronicles James from his childhood in Akron all the way to superstardom in the NBA. It follows in a long line of wonderful books by Terry Pluto, the award-winning sports writer of the Akron Beacon-Journal and now the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Cleveland Cavaliers beat reporter Brian Windhorst is Pluto's co-author.
Accompanying the text are 90 outstanding color photos taken by the staff of the Plain Dealer. They record James from high school -- where in addition to being a basketball prodigy, he was also a football player of note -- all the way to the NBA. In addition, factoid boxes called The LeBron File, revealing interesting tidbits about James, are scattered through the text.
The authors spared no detail in this portrayal of James. In addition to covering LeBron's pro career, they have talked to many who made an impression on him during his high school career. That includes teachers at St. Vincent-St. Mary as well as coaches and teammates.
These interviews reveal a side of LeBron that you won't find in newspapers. Apparently being blessed with an athletic body is not enough to gain the success he has had. The authors constantly show examples of LeBron's drive and character. Eager to please in any situation, LeBron comes across as an extremely positive role model. Even as a kid when he lived part-time with the Walker family, LeBron adapted to a family routine, fitting in and helping with household chores.
Later, that kind of attitude would prove beneficial when he was not fully accepted by Cavaliers teammates during his rookie season. He continued to do his best, and the Cavaliers dumped some players in order to fit players around him. His best included not just scoring points but being the ultimate team player.
Versatility is the name of his game. The authors point out that LeBron would be a star if he were shorter and could not score because he's such a good passer.
Thus, he has the scoring ability of Michael Jordan and the passing ability of Magic Johnson or Larry Bird. So containing him defensively becomes quite the chore.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in James. This is so much more than just a basketball book. It probes the character and off-the-court life of a basketball superstar as much as his on-the-floor contributions.