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LeBron James signs NBA contract

July 3, 2003 at 4:49 PM

CLEVELAND, July 3 (UPI) -- LeBron James, the high school basketball phenom and No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft, has signed his first pro contract.

The Cleveland Cavaliers signed the 6-8 James Thursday. Under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, he inked a three-year deal worth a maximum $12.96 million.

Cleveland holds the option for a fourth season that could pay him another $5.8 million.

"LeBron brings an exciting new dimension to the Cavaliers and we couldn't be happier to make it official by finalizing his contract," said Cleveland General Manager Jim Paxson.

The 6-8, 240-pounder will play for the Cavaliers' summer league team in Orlando and Boston. He already has signed a near $100 million sneaker contract from Nike, and has made season ticket sales for the Cavaliers skyrocket.

He led St. Vincent-St. Mary High School of Akron to three Ohio state titles, including one his senior season. He averaged 31.6 points and 9.6 rebounds in his senior season, and was the consensus National High School Player of the Year.

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