People remember the steal and the dunk. Some remember an 18-year-old LeBron James had an impressive 25 points, 9 assists, 6 rebounds and 4 steals in his NBA debut. Some might even remember the game being delayed because the New York Knicks and Orlando Magic game went into OT and ESPN wanted to make sure TV audiences didn’t miss a second of James’ debut. Only a few NBA fans — mainly Sacramento Kings ones — remember when the final buzzer went off, right after an airball from LeBron, the Kings were the winners of the game by 14 points. That’s because nobody cares now and nobody cared back then. The only thing out of the mouth of a Kings player we cared about was what they thought of the Kings’ debut.
“It was the first I’ve seen of him, and I was real impressed. He’s the real deal.” – Divac
“He’s a talent. Look at how he plays. The best thing about him is how he distributes the ball. He does it extremely well.” – Bobby Jackson
“He obviously was good tonight. He’s got a lot of talent. He gets to the basket, he sees the floor. For the first game, you had to be impressed.” – Coach Adelman
LeBron’s 25-point total was not only the most ever in a debut by a prep-to-pro up to that point, but it was also 15 points more than Jonathan Bender and Amare Stoudemire and 25 more than Kobe and T-Mac.
PREP TO PRO DEBUTS
- Amare Stoudemire: 10
- Jonathan Bender: 10
- Kevin Garnett: 8
- Darius Miles: 8
- Deshawn Stevenson: 5
- Rashard Lewis: 4
- Eddy Curry: 2
- Jermaine O’Neal: 2
- Kwame Brown: 2
- Kobe Bryant: 0
- Tracy McGrady: 0
This ad with a headband-less LeBron playing the Kings made its debut during his NBA debut vs the Kings.