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King James’ Time as an Oakland Soldier

In the summer of 2001, Shrek was being shown at local theaters including Grand Lake Theatre, the one in Jack London Square, or at the old Century theatre in Emeryville — before Bay Street opened. And not too far from Emeryville, there was a kid putting on his own show, an opening act of sorts: joking as he ate ice cream in a layup line at a basketball camp. The kid’s name was Lebron.

As the San Jose Mercury News reports, Lebron James’ rise to stardom has its roots in the East Bay’s teenage traveling basketball team, the Oakland Soldiers. An article that appeared in the SF Weekly in 2012 details the story of how James became a part of the East Bay team, lending credit to team Coach Mark Oliver and Calvin Andrews, who is now a well-known sports agent.

One of the highlights of the tale of Lebron’s time in the Town is the contrast in his character. His kiddish manner was exemplified during practice, and then during a real game he got serious. He teamed up with Oakland’s Leon Powe to beat two young stars from Atlanta named Dwight Howard and Josh Smith.

How fitting would it be for James to make his return to the big show in the Town, just to go out like Howard and Smith did last round with the Rockets?


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