LeBron James makes it official

April 25, 2003 at 5:57 PM

AKRON, Ohio, April 25 (UPI) -- LeBron James surprised no one Friday when he announced he would skip college and enter the NBA draft.

The Ohio prep star is expected to be the top overall pick.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge," James said at a news conference at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. "It's been a longtime dream for me to play in the NBA. There's no better time for me because I know how hot I am."

James is so hot his sneaker deal with Adidas, Nike or Reebok could net a price tag of nearly $50 million.

Wearing No. 23 in honor of Michael Jordan, which might be a good sign for Nike, James averaged 30.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.9 steals this past season.

The 6-8, 240-pound James made his announcement one day after Carmelo Anthony left Syracuse on the heels of delivering the school a national championship in his freshman year.

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