NEW ORLEANS — The basketball house in Louisiana built by the King was a thing of beauty, a diamond in the rough with shiny hardwood floors, new rims and vibrant colors on the walls all around.
And still, LeBron James was the most impressive renovation project on the premises.
The Miami Heat star has mastered this path from punch line to pop-culture icon. His many sides were on display at All-Star Weekend, including Sunday’s All-Star Game, where he had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in a 163-155 comeback Eastern Conference win.
But there wasn’t a more fulfilling moment for James than his visit to New Orleans suburb Gretna.
Gleeful children surrounded him at the refurbished Boys and Girls Club. They didn’t care about the latest headlines, or how this NBA star who once seemed to say all the wrong things was on a Muhammad Ali-esque stretch of media in which his bold claims and bravado have been fascinating, fearless and, well, factually correct.