LEBRON James has a knack of having the last word – whether on or off the court – and the Cleveland Cavaliers ace had the final say on an off-season where many NBA superstars headed to Asia.
The three-times champion and four-times MVP made his third visit to Manila at the weekend, following successful trips in 2013 and 2015, and wowed fans by taking to the court.
James followed fellow superstars such as Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Kyrie Irving, Steph Curry and Dwyane Wade in visiting Asia during the NBA off-season, which ends later this month.
He may have spent little more than five minutes on the court, playing alongside Gilas Pilipinas’ Youngbloods in an exhibition game at the Mall of Asia Arena, but the man known as ‘The King’ made a lasting impression.
The 32-year-old upstaged his fellow NBA superstars who had visited Asia this summer, thrilling the crowd as he lined up against the ‘Gilas OGs’ in a competitive contest that featured Filipino stars such as Gabe Norwood, Jayson Castro, Matthew Wright and Japeth Aguilar.
James thrilled the thousands of fans, while he also held a training session with local professional players and a basketball clinic with less fortunate kids, as he made up for having to cancel a scheduled trip last year due to “logistical challenges”.
“There’s no way that I wasn’t going to come back to Manila this year and I’m happy that I’m here celebrating with you guys,” James told the crowd.
“You guys are unbelievable and I thank you so much. I hope you guys will continue to welcome me back.”
Some of the NBA stars who visited Asia this summer
Steph Curry (Golden State Warriors) – China, South Korea
Kevin Durant (Golden State Warriors) – India
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors) – China
Dwyane Wade (Chicago Bulls) – China
Kyrie Irving (then Cleveland Cavaliers, now Boston Celtics) – Japan, Taiwan, China
Jeremy Lin (Brooklyn Nets) – Taiwan, China
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) – China