Lakers’ LeBron James’ Was Dubbed ‘The Next Great’ After Hitting Runner Three Over Lenny Cooke, Says Legendary Trainer

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James reacts after hitting a shot during overtime of in the team’s NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Last month, Lakers forward LeBron James turned 37 years old, and on his birthday on the Clubhouse app held a LeBron James appreciation room hosted by Prezy Corleone.

So many people on stage gave the Lakers forward his flowers for his career accomplishments, from coming down three-one in the 2016 finals against the Golden State Warriors to bringing a championship to Cleveland.

Another moment someone brought up was game six of the Eastern Conference Finals. During that game, James had 45 points, 15 rebounds, and five assists, forcing a game seven in that series, and the Heat would eventually go on to win the NBA Championship that season.

Legendary basketball trainer Mark Edwards shared a story of seeing LeBron James on the AAU circuit and then against Lenny Cooke two years later.

“My favorite LeBron [James] moment was before he even got to the pros, and it wasn’t my first time seeing because I saw him a rising ninth-grader. I did not know he was going to be that kid. He was just there at the AAU National Championships, and whatever, I saw their team and whatever. So, it might have been two years later, in 2001, that he did the camp the ‘ABC Camp’ at Fairleigh Dickinson, and everybody was talking about that young boy here. I asked the Melo kid because I knew about Melo. Melo was a scoring prodigy, and I remember our guys in Baltimore talking about him when he was like 11, 12, 13 years old, dropping 40, 50 whenever he wanted to. Like he was just nice, but he was lazy-laid back,” says Edward.

“So, I was just hyped to see LeBron because they were talking about him and when I saw him. He is five or six inches taller than a rising ninth-grader hands were long down to his knees. He was impressive. He looked like a grown man [and] to then see him play against Lenny Cooke everybody was like going crazy, [but] watching him dribble the ball up the court, his movements were different than everybody else on the court. The two people at that camp were just different. Actually, there were three: Melo, LeBron, and Sebastian Telfair.”

He added, “But watching LeBron play that game, I think he only scored 16 points, but he locked Lenny up to four points. Sixteen points in a camp setting like that were big, and even though he hit the game-winner [from] the three-point line, it was a runner over Lenny Cooke swish everybody went crazy watching him dunk. Everybody that was in the gym that was somebody was like, “Yo, this might be the next Micheal Jordan; this might be the next best basketball player ever to play.”

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles Lakers are against the Sacramento Kings at 10 PM EST.

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Written by Landon Buford

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