LeBron James’ Wife Was a Cheerleader at His Rival High School—Here’s How They Met

LeBron James, Savannah James
Photo: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP.

He may be an NBA legend, but LeBron James‘ wife Savannah James still remembers him as a high school basketball player who took her on a first date to Outback Steakhouse. (More on that later.)

LeBron and Savannah (whose maiden name is Brinson) married in September 2013 and share three kids: sons Bronny and Bryce and daughter Zhuri. The Los Angeles Lakers player proposed to her on New Year’s Eve 2011. His friend and fellow NBA player, Dwyane Wade, helped with the proposal and held the pear-shaped diamond, which is worth a reported $300,000, the whole night until the ball dropped. LeBron proposed a few minutes after minutes after midnight, and Savannah said yes.

“I was nervous. It felt like before a finals game,” LeBron later told Oprah Winfrey in 2012. “I had been thinking about it for a while, but it just came to me one day and I was like, ‘This is a part of growth for me.’ This is the lady and the woman I have been with through all the good and all the bad. She’s been there for a long time and I wanted her to continue to be there with me, so I felt like at that moment it was time.”

The couple married at the Capella Chapel Grand Del Mar hotel in San Diego on September 14, 2013. The wedding was three days and included 200 guests including Wade, Gabrielle Union, Jay-Z and Ne-Yo. “He is truly a king to his queen, if you will,” Savannah told Cleveland Magazine in 2017 about her husband. “He treats me with so much respect — I mean, it’s hard to not love him, with the way that he is with me and the kids and his mom and just everyone who’s around him. He’s a really, really humble guy for everything that he has and everything that he’s done.” In 2021’s Space Jam: A New Legacy, Sonequa Martin-Green played a LeBron’s fictional wife, Kamiyah, who is based on Savannah.

Who is LeBron James’ wife, Savannah James?

So who is LeBron James’ wife, Savannah James? Well, according to Savannah’s Instagram bio, she’s a philanthropist and a business woman. In 2018, Savannah started a furniture line with American Signature called Home Court. In 2013, she opened a juicery called The Juice Spot in Miami. Though the store had good business, she closed it in January 2016 due to her busy schedule.

But perhaps Savannah is best known for her philanthropy work. In 2013, she founded the “I PROMise Makeover” event, which provided prom dresses for underprivileged teenagers. “I can’t imagine being in their situation and not have somebody help,” Savannah told USA Today in a past interview. “I really care. It’s really in my soul to help people, and this is the first baby to come from it,” she said, noting, “There comes a time when you have to give back.” She’s also a part of the LeBron James Family Foundation, which supports their hometown of Akron, Ohio, and has donated $41 million to the University of Akron students. Savannah is also the founder of a mentorship program called Women of Our Future.

However, it also seems like Savannah is busy at home. In an interview with Vogue in 2017, LeBron revealed that Savannah is in charge of the household while he’s away traveling most of the time. “I’m gone a lot, so she is the boss of the household; she’s the rule-setter,” he said. “It’s hard for me to go on the road for two and half weeks and then come home and tell my kids, ‘Look, this is how it should be done’ when she’s been home every day.”

How did LeBron James and Savannah James meet?

So how did LeBron and Savannah meet? The couple met as teenagers in their hometown of Akron, Ohio. LeBron was a 17-year-old attending St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where he had been recruited to play on their basketball team. Savannah, for her part, was a cheerleader and softball player at the rival high school. The couple met through a mutual friend, who told Savannah that LeBron asked for her phone number. “I’m like, ‘Um, nope. I’ll take his number,” she told Cleveland Magazine in 2018. “One day I’m sitting around — I was probably bored or something — and I’m like, ‘Oh, I forgot! I have this number for this guy that I can call. He seemed interested, so let’s see.’”

LeBron asked her out to a basketball game and then to dinner at an Outback Steakhouse. Savannah told Harper’s Bazaar in 2010 that she knew LeBron was special after she forgot her leftovers at the restaurant and LeBron brought them to her. “I’d totally forgotten about them, and he brought them to me. I think he just wanted another excuse to come and see me,” she said.

As for if Savannah knew what a big deal LeBron was in their town at the time, she told Harper’s Bazaar, “I had no idea who he was.” LeBron also confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter in 2018 that Savannah knew him long before he became the NBA star he is today. “Savannah was with me shooting in the gym when I [had] absolutely nothing,” he said. “[Savannah] was down when I was at my high school, no cameras, no lights. And she was there with me. You wouldn’t be talking to me right now if it weren’t for her.”

A year after LeBron graduated from high school, Savannah, who was a senior at the time, learned that she was pregnant with their first son, Bronny. Though the news was unexpected, LeBron and Savannah reassured each other that being parents wouldn’t affect their career paths. “’It’s not going to slow me down, and it’s not going to slow you down. We’re going to keep doing what we have to do,’” she told Harper’s Bazaar. Their first son, LeBron James Jr., was born in 2004, followed by another son, Bryce Maximus, in 2007, and a daughter, Zhuri, in 2014.

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