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1: LEBRON MAKES HIS FIRST MOVE

On July 11, 2014, LeBron James places three calls, to Dwyane Wade, owner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley, telling each he's leaving the Heat. Then, as his homecoming essay is being read on SportsCenter, LeBron calls Wolves big man Kevin Love: "Come play with me in Cleveland." The Cavs had previously been told Love wouldn't sign long-term. But LeBron's call ends with Love saying, "I'm in." Within minutes, Love's agent is on the phone with the Cavs. Within 24 hours, James finalizes his deal. The trade for Love is agreed to within days.

2: LEBRON JAMES: HEADHUNTER

The Cavs are struggling to sign Mike Miller that summer -- the Nuggets have offered more money -- until LeBron gets involved. The word they receive soon after LeBron's recruiting begins: "It's done." (They actually hear the news from James' agent before hearing it from Miller himself.) At the end of preseason two months later, Cavs GM David Griffin credits James with helping land not just Love and Miller but Shawn Marion and James Jones: "When you cut LeBron loose in the free agency pack, you tend to get results that you don't get otherwise. To say he's been an amazing partner this offseason would be a gross understatement."

3: MEET THE NEW BOSS ...

Prior to the Cavs' first practice of training camp in late September, LeBron asks new head coach David Blatt if he can hold his own players-only meeting. As the coaching staff waits on the floor, James pulls all the Cavs players into a meeting room and shuts the door, then goes player by player-from stars like Love and Kyrie Irving to training-camp free agents-telling each what LeBron expects from him throughout the season. After the meeting, many of the players say they have never experienced anything like that.

4: A PLAYER-COACH BY ANY OTHER NAME ...

In October, at the Cavs' first intrasquad scrimmage, LeBron gathers his teammates during warm-ups and puts them through their paces, calling out the plays as they run the court in 5-0 offense situations. It's a harbinger of things to come. "The Princeton offense that Blatt installed in the preseason, they just threw that out," ESPN reporter Brian Windhorst notes months later on Bill Simmons' B.S. Report podcast. "What typically happens -- and this has been happening for like three months now -- is LeBron will take the ball and call the play. Blatt will see what play LeBron calls and he'll repeat it to the team. That happens on a regular basis."

5: LEBRON SITS HIMSELF DOWN ...

On Dec. 30, suffering through knee and back pain that has hampered him on the court for weeks, James unilaterally makes the call to sit. Says Windhorst on the B.S. Report: "LeBron just decided, 'I'm not gonna play.' Like, at the last minute, he told them, 'I'm not playing.' Didn't even come out to the bench, just sat in the back, didn't come out." The Cavs are stunned, but they acquiesce to the decision and agree to two weeks' rest.

6: LEBRON JAMES: HUMAN RESOURCES

While LeBron is out, Griffin approaches James at the practice facility. The Cavs are sinking, in the midst of losing seven of eight games; the team badly needs help on the wing, and Griffin has learned he can get Iman Shumpert from the Knicks for a song-but the price of the deal is to also take J.R. Smith. Griffin wants Shumpert badly, but he's concerned about the enigmatic Smith. When he asks James what he thinks, James says that he's actually more interested in getting Smith than Shumpert. To ease Griffin's worries, LeBron ends the conversation by saying: "Get J.R. here and I'll take care of it."

7: LEBRON JAMES:
DIRECTOR OF DIGITAL OUTREACH

In early February, with the Cavs fresh off a 12-game win streak, LeBron takes to Twitter: "Stop trying to find a way to FIT-OUT and just FIT-IN. Be apart of something special! Just my thoughts." After first admitting the tweet is a call-out of Love -- an effort to engage the underperforming big -- LeBron then denies it. Then he owns it again. The back-and-forth keeps the story alive and puts pressure on Love- who in February goes on to post his top monthly plus-minus and 3-point rates of the season.

8: LEBRON CALLS HIS SHOT

In the final seconds of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, with the Cavs and Bulls tied 84-84, Blatt draws up a play that requires James to inbound the ball. LeBron scratches the play, telling Blatt: "There's no way I'm taking the ball out unless I can shoot it over the backboard and go in." He then goes on to hit the game winner on a catch-and-shoot from the corner as the game clock expires. Says LeBron after the game: "I told him to have somebody else take the ball out, give me the ball and everybody get out the way."

9: LEBRON JAMES: CEO, CABANA RELATIONS

On June 28, LeBron is in Los Angeles for a camp for college and high school players. He has reserved a poolside cabana at the hotel where he's staying. Love, who's also there, had texted James earlier asking if they could talk. In the previous few days both had opted out of their contracts and become free agents. They agree to talk at the pool in the afternoon. Love pulls up a chair and does most of the talking, but LeBron makes it clear he wants Love back. Three days later, Love announces he's signing a five-year, $110 million deal with the Cavs. And LeBron wins the world-again.

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