King in Beijing
Updated: 2012-08-23 08:04
By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James hugs a fan during his visit to Beijing on Tuesday. James became the only player other than Michael Jordan to win the NBA MVP, the NBA championship and Olympic gold in the same year. Zhang Wei / China Daily
LeBron James is on tour in China as part of promotion
He accomplished something only Michael Jordan had done before, but LeBron James isn't ready to put himself in the same category.
Fresh off leading the United States to a successful Olympic title defense in London, the Miami Heat forward arrived in Beijing on a promotional tour to put on a show for fans at Chaoyang stadium on Tuesday.
James, who showed up to watch an amateur exhibition game, received a warm ovation from about 2,000 fans who waved his posters while chanting "LBJ" loudly.
At halftime, a traditional Chinese martial arts show featuring Beijing opera performers entertained James, who is visiting the country for the sixth time.
James became the second player Jordan was the other to claim the MVP award (both regular and postseason), the NBA title and an Olympic gold medal in the same year.
"This is a dream come true. It's a perfect year and it's been amazing," said James, who also won gold at the Beijing Games.
Still, the 27-year-old said he hasn't reached greatness.
"You know, greatness is defined by how much you want to put into what you do, going for, accomplishing goals. Also, being able to come back from adversity," he said.
"So you know, I can see where greatness is, but I'm not there yet, but I'm trying to get there. And I'll continue to work hard to get there."
Since entering the league as the overall No 1 pick in 2003, James has been expected to replace Jordan as the NBA's next global icon.
It took awhile. He failed to win a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and didn't fully live up to his billing until he clinched his first NBA champion this summer with the help of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami.
Success came slowly on the international stage as well. His teams failed to deliver gold at his Olympic and World debuts - 2004 Athens and 2006 Japan - before winning it all in 2008 and 2010.
James recorded the first triple double (11 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists) in Olympic history - against Australia in the quarterfinals in London - and finished with averages of 13.2 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists.
He's not done yet.
James, who will be 31 in 2016, said recently he's interested in playing in his fourth Olympics in Rio.
"We haven't had that conversation (with USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo)," James told AP recently.
"But if I'm healthy and if I have the opportunity to be out there, I will do it. I love it. I love being a part of it and representing my country. I don't know what may happen in four years, but it would be great to be back out there again. Definitely."
James will continues his China tour in Shanghai on Thursday and Friday, leading the Nike summer league's north champion against the south champion in the national final.
(China Daily 08/23/2012 page24)