Latest Stories

King James came, conquered


LEBRON James uncorks a rim-rattling dunk before an adoring throng at MOA Arena in Pasay. RICHARD A. REYES

They came to witness history. Turns out, just like them, basketball superstar LeBron James was also left in awe.

“I’m at a loss for words; this is unbelievable,” said the four-time NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA champion in front of an adoring throng at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

Serenaded by chants of “MVP! MVP!” James emerged from the makeshift stage, marveled at the adulation showered on him and put on a spectacular show of his basketball prowess.

The Miami Heat star made his first visit to the country and witnessed first-hand what his Filipino-American coach, Erik Spoelstra, had been raving about this basketball-crazy country.

“Coach Spoelstra has been telling me how basketball is in this country and now I know why,” said James.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but this is something I will never forget.”

It was a busy day for James who faced the media shortly after lunch, made a quick stop at Nike’s flagship store at Bonifacio Global City, where he saw another huge crowd braving the rain just to see him, before finally making his way to MOA Arena for the “Witness History” show.

“I’m humbled and overwhelmed,” James told the appreciative crowd at BGC.

Throughout his tour, James acknowledged his role as an inspiration to kids and the youth to become winners in their own right.

Aside from his basketball exploits, James has also dabbled in civic work with his own foundation that benefits underprivileged kids in the United States.

“I’m glad I’m in a position to inspire people to always strive to be great,” he said. “Thank you, guys, for allowing me to inspire you.”

The 28-year-old also talked about his desire to improve aspects of his game and leaving a legacy after his career is over.

“You will see a better LeBron James next season,” he vowed.

“I’ve got a lot more to prove, a lot more to accomplish. It’s too early to discuss about a legacy. Hopefully, when I decide to hang up my shoes and jersey, my game, my resume, my accomplishments will speak for itself.”

Together with Gilas-Pilipinas players, a selection of collegiate stars and the PH Under-16 team, James went through individual and team drills supervised by national coach Chot Reyes.

Instantly, the Gilas stars turned giddy as James posed for a photo with players. So excited were the players that Reyes had to tell them to put away their mobile phones so that the drills could begin.

A 10-minute scrimmage that pitted the UAAP aces and Gilas-Pilipinas turned out to be the icing on the cake as James, acting as playing-coach for the UAAP stars, regaled the crowd with a dazzling display of shooting and dunking.

James played five minutes, but missed two potential game winning shots—a jumpshot and a layup as Gilas came away with a 29-27 win. That wasn’t enough to take the luster off what had been a spectacular show, though.

He hit a pair of triples upon his entry with five minutes left, before completing a dazzling alley-hoop dunk off an assist by Ateneo star Kiefer Ravena. James drove the lane and executed a back dunk on Ranidel de Ocampo, who took turns with Marc Pingris in guarding him.

“We feel blessed to have played with him,” said Pingris, part of the Gilas-Pilipinas squad bidding for a World Championship slot in the Fiba Asia tournament starting Aug. 1 at MOA Arena. “He’s an MVP; he’s humble and his mere presence inspired us.”

Though it was just an exhibition game, Pingris said guarding the 6-foot-8 James wasn’t easy. “I bumped him but I don’t think it affected him” he said with a laugh.

James leaves Manila today, but not before promising to come back soon.

“I can’t believe it’s my first time here, understanding how great the game of basketball is here, but this is definitely not my last,” he said.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Basketball , Lebron James , NBA

  • RedvD

    Nice one LBJ. Thank you for a great show yesterday. Hope you can come back again next time

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Manny Pacquiao in PBA? If so, he’ll wear No. 17
  2. Freddie Roach: I’m satisfied; Manny Pacquiao did well
  3. My ideal weight is 140, declares Pacquiao
  4. After Pacquiao, BIR chief Henares runs after boxing fans
  5. Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  6. Ginebra’s new import Freeman arrives, makes PBA return vs ROS
  7. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
  8. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  9. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  10. San Miguel Beer clinches 2nd spot after comeback win over Air21
  1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
  2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
  3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  4. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
  5. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
  6. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  7. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed
  8. Pacquiao ‘strong, faster’ for tiff
  9. Bradley to Pacquiao: You better be ready
  10. Pacquiao survives sneaky haymaker in 4th round
  1. ‘Mommy D’ steals show as son fights
  2. Pacquiao wins unanimous decision vs Bradley to reclaim WBO title
  3. Pacquiao: I’m ready for Mayweather bout
  4. Mayweather surprise visitor to Bradley camp
  5. Bradley won’t last distance– Peñalosa
  6. Manny Pacquiao: I’ll have everything back
  7. Pacquiao punching power ‘way harder’ in first fight—Bradley
  8. Mommy Dionisia explains ‘vodoo’ act vs Bradley
  9. Tapering off: Pacquiao already at 147 lb
  10. Wrestling star Ultimate Warrior’s cause of death revealed


  • Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  • Drilon, Nancy Binay urge Filipinos to strengthen faith
  • ‘Yolanda’ toll now at 6,300 – NDRRMC
  • ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • Netizens seething in anger over Aquino ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace