Gracing the cover of America’s premiere sports magazine while still in high school would be almost considered miraculous if you weren’t an Olympic gymnast. Unless you’re basketball idol LeBron James, whose face first made the cover of Sports Illustrated on Feb. 18, 2002. But it was hardly a miracle to the then-17-yr-old phenom from Akron, Ohio, James tells Steve Kroft in a 60 MINUTES profile to be broadcast Sunday, March 29 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
“I just thought it was just another sports magazine. They want a sports figure, a guy that can play basketball on the cover,” he tells Kroft. “I didn’t know how big Sports Illustrated was,” laughs the 24-yr-old Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, who then counters Kroft’s facetious reaction with a little ribbing of his own.
With a twinkle in his eye, Kroft asks, “Do you know what 60 MINUTES is?” “Yeah,” replies James, who then waits for effect, “It’s an hour, right?” Watch the excerpt
Then James’ wit turns to wizardry when he sinks a more-than-half-court-length shot, underhanded — swish!
It happened so fast 60 MINUTES nearly missed it. While he and Kroft walk the court at his old high school in Akron, James bounces a basketball near the top of the key. “Are you going to do anything with this?” asks Kroft. Before Kroft barely finishes the sentence, James nonchalantly flips the ball underhanded at the backcourt hoop some 60 feet away, where it hits nothing but net. “You got it?” asks a smiling James.
Luckily, the 60 MINUTES cameraman was on it and captured the entire flight of the incredible shot. “How many times can you do that in a row? asks a dazzled Kroft. “I’m one take, baby, that’s all. I’m just one take,” smirks James. Watch the excerpt
Besides a visit to James’ old high school, St. Vincent-St. Mary, the profile also includes a drive through Akron and an interview with his mother, Gloria James.