This feature appeared in The Japan Times in August 2006

LeBron has America’s young guns shooting

By Ed Odeven

Indisputably wise beyond his years, more confident than his peers, LeBron James lounged comfortably in front of cameras and microphones at a Tokyo hotel on Monday afternoon, gazed at the assembled crowd and uttered one short sentence that reveals the true essence behind his success.

“I don’t believe in pressure,” he said.

When he made the quantum leap from an Ohio high school to the NBA, LeBron James believed his talent would carry him to great heights.

It has.

James, 21, is the brightest young star in the NBA. His squad, the Cleveland Cavaliers, is now a threat to be a perennial title contender, as evidenced by its breakout performance in the playoffs this past season. And James, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2003 draft out of an Akron, Ohio high school, is leading the future wave of Team USA basketball.

In Japan, James and Co. are 6-0 heading into Tuesday’s quarterfinal against Germany at the FIBA World Championship at Saitama Super Arena.

The Americans are coming off a 40-point win against Australia.

Team USA has shown that it is capable of shredding the old label of me-first players, the one that caused many to dislike recent U.S. squads.

This squad is different. This squad is likable.

*The full story is posted below.*