How 16-year-old LeBron James was protecting himself from autograph fraud: "That's so somebody can't forge it"

how 16-year-old lebron james was protecting himself from autograph fraud:

lbj

While sitting down for a September 2001 interview in his school's lunchroom, teenage basketball sensation LeBron James was signing autographs on nearby napkins. Once again, a crowd had gathered around him, which had become business as usual for the then 16-year-old.

However, when the interviewer glanced at these autographs, he noticed something unique. LeBron was alternating between two different signatures. When asked about this, the Akron native revealed a specific reason for doing so.

"That's so somebody can't forge it. They'll do one of them, and then they'll go, 'Oh wait...' so that's good," James explained, per SLAM Magazine.

A teenage superstar

Typically, teenagers at this carefree age hang out with friends, go to the park or mall, or stay home playing video games or reading comic books. However, this was not the case for the young James.

After starting organized basketball in fifth grade and achieving unprecedented success, Bron became a sports phenomenon. He was the first sophomore to be named Ohio Mr. Basketball and was selected to the USA Today All-USA First Team. Moreover, LeBron became the first high school underclassman to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated.

While James acknowledged the initial challenge of adapting to the early attention, he gradually became "used to it."

Nearly 25 years under the microscope

Since his early years, up until his NBA debut in 2003 and beyond, 'King James' has been closely followed by media and paparazzi at every step. Despite this intense scrutiny, the self-proclaimed family man's private life has been free of major scandals.

Interestingly, the same can't be said for all members of the top 5 most followed athletes across multiple platforms, including Cristiano Ronaldo (908M followers), Lionel Messi (502M followers), Virat Kohli (381M followers), and Neymar (376M followers). In contrast, the Los Angeles Lakers superstar James (293M followers) maintains an almost impeccable public image.

While the legendary forward's mentality and body language on the court occasionally have faced criticism, as well as his ESPN television special 'The Decision' in 2010, these incidents pale in comparison when considering that LeBron, now aged 39, has been in the spotlight for nearly a quarter of a century.

To sum it up, 'The Chosen One' has undeniably become, at least for some, the greatest basketball player of all time. As his storied career nears its end, fans will undoubtedly cherish every moment the NBA icon spends on the court.

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