RIGA, Latvia –
LeBron James Jr., 10, has been signed by the Latvian National Basketball Association to a 2-year exclusive contract beginning in June, when the young phenom begins his 5th grade summer vacation.
Latvian President Andris Bērziņš made the joint announcement via Skype during a Saturday afternoon international press conference, while Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics offered his comments via translator.
“We are very happy to welcome this young sports prodigy, LeBron James, Jr., into our sports family and to our country, where he will add cultural significance, honor, and international legitimacy to our basketball program.”
James, Jr.’s transition will be helped greatly by Jerry Jackson, former McCaksey High School basketball star from Lancaster PA, now enjoying his seventh season overseas. Said Jackson, “It will be good to have a young protégé to help train and develop. He’s got the raw talent and he looks good out there. I didn’t have that when I started, even though my teammates accepted me with open arms.”
James Jr. is already taller than 80% of the Latvian population, which will make him the recipient of instant attention when he does arrive in the Spring.
“Hopefully, he’ll get used to that,” said Jackson. “I know he’s been brought up to get along with people, but at his age, it’s a lot to handle.”
Latvia has its share of pre-teen groupies who flock to anything foreign. Everyone, it seems, wants to be American, or near anyone or anything that’s American.
“Gold diggers start earlier and earlier, you know,” said Jackson. “It’ll be my job to keep the pre-adolescent little shawties far away from little LeBron. He doesn’t need any of that when his mind should be on the game.” At the age of 10, James, Jr. will need careful guidance and attention, especially in light of his father’s US schedule keeping him away.
“I’m really excited to go to Latvia,” said James Jr. “They are paying me way more than my dad paid me for taking out the trash and doing all my other stupid chores. Plus they’re giving me a car! I guess over there you can drive even without a license, ’cause it’s like backwards over there or something? Anyway, I’m real excited!”
Until the spring, James, Jr. is expected to live his 5th grade life just as any other 10-year old – as normally as can be expected that is, when your father is two-time NBA champ LeBron James, Sr.