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LeBron named MVP


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Pretty nice article from Pluto about LeBron's ties to St. Vincent St. Mary's. Makes him even easier to root for and something all of us from NE Ohio can really appreciate. It looks pretty wordy but reads fast.



They knew him then, they know him now: LeBron's SVSM teachers are beaming with pride

by Terry Pluto/Plain Dealer Columnist


AKRON -- When the NBA's Most Valuable Player stepped to the podium in the gym at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary High Monday, Shawn-Paul Allison just kept smiling. There was LeBron James in a dark blue business suit, with a light blue tie looking as much like a young corporate executive as the 24-year-old star of the Cleveland Cavaliers. There was James only showing his nerves as his fingers bounced a bit on the podium. James took a deep breath and stared out at the packed gym, where he starred for the Irish when they were the nation's top ranked high school team in 2003 by USA Today. But instead of dunking, James was talking about winning the MVP award in a landslide with 109 out of a possible 121 first-place votes.


James thanked his teammates, coaches, friends, family and great players such as Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Julius Erving "who laid this path before me." He was composed, clear and in his own way (even without notes) and prepared -- just as James was in Allison's speech class, where James earned a B as a sophomore. "I graduated from here six years ago," said James. "I'm not that far away from this school ... it has helped me become the man I am today."


"LeBron could have accepted the award in Cleveland," said Patty Burdon, a James family friend who does public relations work for the school. "I bet the NBA would have preferred to have this at The Q, but LeBron's office called and said he wanted to do it here -- at home."


The sight of NBA MVP LeBron James with his girlfriend Savannah Brinson and their two sons, LeBron (in green) and Bryce, inspired pride throughout James' old high school -- especially among his former teachers.James told Burdon that he wanted the teachers and students only to be admitted. Instead of receiving his first MVP award in a glitzy studio, he stood in a gym built in 1950 where the walls are cement blocks painted in green and white. The side baskets have old, square wooden backboards. The seats are long, wooden bleachers.

As Barbara Wood listened Monday, the school's librarian remembered how a young James would walk into the library and sit on her desk to talk. They'd Google his name on the computer, how there were only a few mentions at first -- then thousands. She thought of how she corrected his grammar: "There is no such thing as fiddy cent. It's fifty cents ... with an S. It's more than one S." She fought back the tears as he spoke with such poise, usually keeping the syntax and sentence structure together. "He didn't have it easy growing up," said Wood. "But he wanted a better life for himself and his family."


James stops by the school a few times each year, "just him, not with his entourage," said Allison. He still wanders into the library and sits on Wood's desk. He also visits Beth Harmon, an English teacher for the last 11 years at the school. "I had him as a freshman and sophomore, he was a solid B student," she said. "He was a pleasure to have in class, punctual and polite. As a senior, he'd come to my room and grab some of the candy on my desk. I used him to help me grade papers. We stay in touch, we text 2-3 times a week, and he always answers quickly."


After winning the Olympic gold medal, he brought it to the school on Maple Street to show the teachers and some students. He comes in private, not wanting the media or anyone outside of the Irish family to know he's there.


LeBron James was the target of cell phone cameras and was serenaded by fans chaning "MVP" as he arrived at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School for Monday's presentation of the NBA's MVP award.Allison had James as a sophomore for speech, and then as a junior and senior for English. Allison said he knew James was a good basketball player, but had no idea of his national reputation until the middle of his junior year -- probably when James first appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated. "I remember his senior year, he gave a speech in my English class," said Allison. "I worked with him a lot. I told him that he'd need these skills, and he has used them well."


About that senior year speech... "He talked about why it made sense for some people to jump straight from high school to the NBA," said Allison. "He had to do the research, and give real reasons. I still have his notes."


James went from the inner city Akron high school to the top pick in the 2003 NBA draft and Rookie of the Year. Allison said James drew two pictures that the teacher still has -- one of Michael Jordan, his favorite player and whose No. 23 he still wears. The other was of Macbeth. "We were studying Macbeth and he drew it with a pencil for extra course credit," said Allison. "For a few years, I had it on my classroom wall. But when he became famous, I took it down and put it in a bank vault."


Headmaster David Rathz said the only once did he have to deal with James on a discipline issue -- for making noise in the hallway. He remembered seeing James in a geometry class, his long legs and knees up, his head down over a desk as he worked a problem. "As a senior, I called him in and said that I was supposed to tell him and the other students they should aim for college," said Rathz. "But I smiled and said I wouldn't mention it again. We knew he was going to the NBA, but he still made the honor roll in his last grading period. He really wanted to do the right things."


James arrived at the school in a Ferrari with the top down as students chanted "MVP, MVP." He drove past some of his old streets and neighborhoods on the way. He lived in about 10 different places while growing up, including two critical years with Pam and Frankie Walker, who gave him stability. He praised his mother, Gloria, for enduring life as a single mom, as he was her only child. He talked about having big dreams, but how people from Akron were not supposed to be able to dream big.


"When we were 11 years old, LeBron said he was going to turn pro a year out of college," said Sian Cotton, who played with James in summer leagues and later at St. Vincent-St. Mary. Now a football player at Walsh University in North Canton, Cotton looked at James on the stage and recalled the MVP's first dunk. "It was in the seventh grade," he said. "We were in an AAU tournament in Cleveland at a place called the Hilltopper. We had been telling him for a while that he was too scared to dunk, he'd get up over the rim -- then just lay it in. But that day, he got up really high and looked down and ... boom. He threw it down."


As the students wore T-shirts reading "WIT ... MVP ... NESS," Rathz said the school was so proud that James continued to consider it home. "We don't want him to do anything for us, just keep coming back and saying hello like he's done. He does a great job of making people here feel good about what they did for him." It was never better than Monday afternoon. The MVP trophy was in his hands, maybe a tear or two in his eyes. The hearts of this Catholic School were still connecting with one of its favorite sons.



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LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers named to NBA's All-Defensive First Team

by Mary Schmitt Boyer, The Plain Dealer




Two days after being named the league's Most Valuable Player, LeBron James this afternoon was named to his first NBA All-Defensive First Team, selected by the league's coaches.


"It means a lot," said James, who finished second to Orlando's Dwight Howard in the Defensive Player of the Year voting. "It was a big goal of mine to become a better defensive player and take on a little bit more onus on that end of the floor. It's definitely good. It's humbling, once again. It's a great feat for myself. I really enjoy that side of the floor."


Also selected to the first team were Howard, along with Kobe Bryant of the Lakers, Chris Paul of New Orleans and Kevin Garnett of Boston.


The second team consists of center Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, guards Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat and Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics, and forwards Shane Battier and Ron Artest of the Houston Rockets.



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James a unanimous pick for All-NBA First Team

By Official Release

Posted May 13 2009 1:45PM




NEW YORK -- LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers, the 2008-09 Most Valuable Player presented by Kia Motors, was a unanimous selection to the 2008-09 All-NBA First Team, the NBA announced today. Joining James on the First Team are Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat.


All-NBA First Team

Position      Player (Team)          First Team votes      Total Points
F           LeBron James (Cavs)             122               610
F           Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks)       35                383
C           Dwight Howard (Magic)           116               598
G           Kobe Bryant (Lakers)            119               604
G           Dwyane Wade (Heat)              103               572


All-NBA Second Team

Position      Player (Team)          First Team votes      Points
F          Tim Duncan (Spurs)               39               378
F          Paul Pierce (Celtics)            27               330
C          Yao Ming (Rockets)               8                354
G          Brandon Roy (Trail Blazers)      --               189
G          Chris Paul (Hornets)             32               424


All-NBA Third Team

Position      Player (Team)          First Team votes      Points
F         Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets)           2             116
F         Pau Gasol (Lakers)                  2             165
C         Shaquille O'Neal (Suns)             --            68
G         Chauncey Billups (Nuggets)          --            131
G         Tony Parker (Spurs)                 1             158



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