AKRON, Ohio – On one of the biggest days of his life, LeBron James took the long way home.
Once inside his hometown’s city limits, James pulled his high-powered Ferrari off Interstate 77 and drove the back roads to St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, his alma mater.
Turning on Maple Street, he went past his first house on Hickory. Then, it was past the one on Silver Street, where his mother, Gloria, began raising him by herself.
James visited The Boondocks, where he and his friends first dribbled on the playgrounds.
James retraced the steps on Monday. His path to NBA superstardom.
An unstoppable offensive force who became an elite defender this season, James claimed the league MVP, receiving the award in the gym where he first became a star.
“This is a place where all my dreams started and where I thought they could become real,” James said. “There’s really not a better place.”
An MVP vote some expected to be close was another slam dunk by James. He received 109 of a possible 121 first-place votes to easily outdistance Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. James totaled 1,172 points in balloting by media members in the U.S. and Canada.
Bryant, last year’s winner, got two first-place votes and finished with 698 points. Miami guard Dwyane Wade was third with 680 points and was named first on seven ballots. Orlando center Dwight Howard (328) was fourth followed by New Orleans guard Chris Paul (192).
The race was never in doubt. It was James all along.
“I’m 24 years old and I’m receiving this award. I never thought it would happen this fast,” he said, standing under three state title banners he helped win for the Fighting Irish.
James is the first Cavaliers player to win the award. He averaged 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists this season, his sixth as a pro.
Obama to greet Heels
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – North Carolina made President Obama’s bracket a winner with its romp through the NCAA Tournament.
Now Obama will get the chance to thank the Tar Heels for making him look good.
The president will honor the national champions at the White House next Monday.
Obama – who played a pickup game with the team last spring – picked the Tar Heels to win the title before the tournament.
Joba’s mom in trouble
LINCOLN, Neb. – The mother of New York Yankees pitcher Joba Chamberlain has been arrested on charges of selling methamphetamine to an undercover police officer in February.
Jacqueline Standley was arrested at her apartment Saturday night, Lincoln Police Capt. David Beggs said Monday.
Beggs said she sold 1 gram of a substance believed to be meth to an officer for $110 on Feb. 11. The substance was confirmed as meth at the state laboratory.
The 44-year-old Standley was charged Monday with delivery of an exceptionally hazardous drug, a felony. Her bail was set at $5,000 and she was assigned a public defender, whose name was not on her jail record.
Last month, Chamberlain pleaded guilty to drunken driving and was given nine months probation and a $400 fine for his October arrest.
Structure collapse probed
IRVING, Texas – Government investigators began sorting through the Dallas Cowboys’ flattened practice facility Monday, trying to figure out why fierce winds sent the tentlike structure crashing down during a rookie workout session.
Twelve people were hurt, including Cowboys special teams coach Joe DeCamillis, who underwent surgery Monday to stabilize a fractured vertebrae in his neck.
The most seriously injured was Rich Behm, the team’s 33-year-old scouting assistant who was permanently paralyzed from the waist down after his spine was severed. Assistant athletic trainer Greg Gaither, 35, had surgery on his fractured right leg. Both DeCamillis and Gaither are expected to get out of the hospital this week.
Inspectors were at the collapse site Monday, said Elizabeth Todd, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA, which investigates workplace accidents, has six months to make a report, she said.
Records obtained by The Associated Press show the city of Irving granted the Cowboys’ request to replace the fabric roof last year, five years after the structure was built.
The team listed itself as the contractor for the roof replacement, but Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple said the team would not comment about the work.
A-Rod getting closer
CLEARWATER, Fla. – Alex Rodriguez hit a long homer, played seven innings in the field and drew a walk off Philadelphia’s J.C. Romero on Monday in his latest extended spring training game.
The Yankees third baseman did not take questions after the game, which was played on the same day a book, “A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez,” was scheduled for release. As he was leaving, a smiling and upbeat Rodriguez said he “feels good.”
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said it was possible Rodriguez could rejoin the team Friday, when New York starts a trip at Baltimore.
“Is Friday the day? I can’t tell you,” Girardi said in New York. “So much of it just depends on how he feels and when he believes that he’s ready to go. I have not really put a date on it, because I want to see how he bounces back on Wednesday or even (Tuesday).”
Pima women’s tennis
Pima Community College is in 15th place after two rounds of the NJCAA National Tournament at the Randolph Tennis Center.
Ali Brackey is the only Aztec player still alive in a championship bracket. She will face the No. 2 seed in Flight 3 Tuesday.
Citizen Staff Report
NUMBER OF THE DAY
Total points by Cleveland’s LeBron James in the NBA’s MVP voting Monday. Other leaders:
Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 698
Dwyane Wade, Miami 680
Dwight Howard, Orlando 328
Chris Paul, New Orleans 192
Chauncey Billups, Denver 33
Paul Pierce, Boston 21
Tony Parker, San Antonio 9
Brandon Roy, Portland 7
ON THIS DATE
1904: Cy Young of the Red Sox pitches a perfect game against the Philadelphia Athletics, beating Rube Waddell 3-0.
1966: The Montreal Canadiens beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 to win the Stanley Cup in six games.
1969: The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers 107-102 in the seventh game to win the NBA championship for the 10th time in 11 years. Player-coach Bill Russell retires as a player.
1973: Secretariat, ridden by Ron Turcotte, wins the Kentucky Derby with a record time of 1:59.2.
‘Nice grab’ by new basketball coach
Re: UA hoops lands recruit Kevin Parrom
• Wow, I cannot believe what Miller is able to do so quick. I realize that they are mostly Xavier recruits, which aren’t quite what Lute would get, but it is 100 times better than what we were looking at just a few months ago. Way to go, Miller.
• Another stud finds his way from the East Coast. Great recruit as this kid can play the game. Nice touch on the ball and a great first step. Next year’s team is really taking shape. . . . Can’t wait for the fun to begin. It’s Miller Time!
• Nice grab. With or without Stephenson, this is a nice late recruiting bonanza by Miller. . . . With the guys we have on the roster, I’m sensing a four-guard offense next year.