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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.

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"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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