Thursday, February 27
'Chosen One' picked to lead McDonald's All-Americans

Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James has been "chosen'' once again.

James, the nation's top high school player, was selected as a member of the 2003 McDonald's All-American team Thursday and has accepted an invitation to play in the March 26 game at Gund Arena.

James is the best-known name on the list of 24 high school seniors, many of whom already have accepted scholarship offers to some elite college programs.

The gifted 6-foot-8 senior from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, dubbed "The Chosen One'' by Sports Illustrated on its cover a year ago, will be playing at the Gund for the third time.

Last March, James played a state tournament game before a sellout of 20,562 fans, the largest crowd to see a high school basketball game in Ohio. Two months later, he participated in a voluntary workout with members of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were fined $150,000 by the NBA for tampering.

More than 6,000 tickets have been sold for this year's charity game, said event spokesman Jim Brazytis.

The boys' game -- following a game featuring 24 of the nation's girls -- will be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 7 p.m. ET. Proceeds from the event will benefit Ronald McDonald charity chapters in northeast Ohio.

James, who is averaging 31.5 points and 10.5 rebounds a game, and his teammates will begin seeking a third state title in four years Friday night with a first-round game against Kenmore.

It will be James' first action since Feb. 16. He had to sit out St. Vincent-St. Mary's regular-season finale on Monday as part of a two-game suspension ordered by a judge for breaking an eligibility rule.

James was ruled ineligible last month by a state commission for accepting two sports jerseys from a clothing store without paying for them. He was temporarily reinstated by Summit County Court Judge James Williams, who will hear James' case again on March 5, the day after St. Vincent-St. Mary, ranked No. 1 by USA Today, would play its second tournament game.

Once his high school career ends, James is expected to be the No. 1 pick in this year's NBA draft.

The McDonald's All-American game has featured some of the league's past and present superstars, including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant.