LeBron James never went to college — he jumped to the NBA straight from high school. But in his essay about why he decided to return to Cleveland, LeBron said his four years in Miami were “almost like college for other kids.”
King James’ time with the Heat was not without its ups and downs, just like a normal college experience. So that got us thinking about what his four years in Miami would look like if here were actually attending college — let’s call it Heat University.
Here’s what we came up with:
At the end of high school, LeBron was accepted to a few different elite universities. All of them wanted such a highly regarded student to come to their campus. He took a long time to make his decision, talking it over with some of his friends, hoping that they could all end up together. In the end, he chose Heat U. LeBron made a promise to his parents and to his friends that he would bring home not one, not two, not three A’s, but as many as it took to make him the best student the university had ever seen. When finals rolled around, he was confident and prepared. But as sometimes happens with young college students, he got a little overconfident. He failed his final exam on the history of horses in the Wild West. The school year ended in disappointment.
The summer was tough. LeBron heard rumors that Heat University faculty thought he wasn’t ready for college. With the help of his adviser, Professor Spoelstra, LeBron studied hard over the break so that when he returned to school things would be different. And they were. This year, his final was on extreme weather patterns, and though he struggled at the beginning LeBron came away with his first A. Step one completed.
Going into his third year in Miami, LeBron found out that he had been put in one of the most difficult classes the school had to offer. Dean Popovich was the teacher, and he was known across the University for his reputation as a difficult grader. He didn’t talk much and he never smiled. For the first time, LeBron was nervous during the final exam. He looked at his watch and saw the time ticking away as he reached the last question. If he didn’t think fast, he was going to fail. Suddenly something his friend Ray had told him before the exam about hiding in corners popped into his head. That was the answer! LeBron scribbled it down quickly. Ray had saved him, and LeBron finished junior year with his second straight A.
It seemed like everything was on track. LeBron had risen out of his freshman year struggles and aced his finals the next two years. Things were looking up, and people on campus wanted to talk to him everywhere he went. Unfortunately, he had been put in another class with Dean Popovich. And this time, he wouldn’t let the big man on campus slip by. The final exam was even more difficult than the year before. LeBron wrote as fast as he could, but the air conditioning in the lecture hall was broken. Sweat was pouring down his face when his hand started to cramp up. He tried to keep writing but the pencil fell to the ground. LeBron couldn’t go on.
Lots of people at the University were impressed with LeBron’s back-to-back A years. But college eventually comes to an end, and Lebron graduated from Heat University with much success. But now he is hungry for more. So he has decided to return to Cleveland for some of his mom’s delicious home cooking.
Photos: Gregory Heisler for Sports Illustrated Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images, Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images, Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images, Andy Lyons/Getty Images