By Mardeio Cannon | OBSERVER Columnist

Last week when the business magazine Forbes listed its latest list of billionaires, LeBron James was on the list! In my opinion this deserves a huge shout-out because James made this most exclusive list as an active NBA player. His “Airness” Michael Jordan, for example, made the list after he retired as an NBA player.

James should also be celebrated because he wasn’t raised in a traditional, two-parent family or graduate from college.

He came into the NBA as a highly hyped high school basketball star out of Akron, Ohio who made the cover of Sports Illustrated before he played his first NBA game.

I was privileged to watch his first NBA game when his Cleveland Cavaliers came into town in October 2003 to play the Sacramento Kings.  The 18-year-old James scored 23 points in his debut against the Kings. After the game, as a member of the press, I attended his first press conference as a professional at the old Arco Arena. The one thing that impressed me was as a young teenager, he was dressed impeccably in a blue suit and how much maturity he showed in answering questions.

As I fast forward to 2022 and in the twilight of his illustrious NBA where he has won four NBA titles and is in the debate as one of the greatest players in NBA history, James has carried himself with maturity and wisdom beyond his years. He married his childhood sweetheart and next year his oldest son is expected to be drafted in the NBA.

With all the temptations of life in the NBA and off the court, James has never had his name defiled in scandal and that is a major accomplishment.

What makes his being named on the Forbes billionaires list so awesome is the fact that so few African American have made this list. Neither Magic Johnson nor Shaquille O’Neal — both former NBA legends who have achieved major success in the business world — has cracked this exclusive list.

So, we now can celebrate LeBron James’ success for more than basketball,  and that is worth celebrating.

NBA Finals Teams Built The Right Way

The NBA Finals are well underway and this looks like a very competitive series between two very talented teams. The success of the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics should usher in a new trend in the NBA: building championship teams through the draft rather than through so-called “super teams” (see Brooklyn Nets). However, I will pick a winner and go with the Boston Celtics in six games!