Jay z and lebron james, photographed as they spoke after a game between the new jersey nets and the miami heat, played at the prudential center in newark, new jersey on april 16, 2012. that evening lebron put up 37 points, including a 17-point one-man rally at the end of the game, to lead his team to a 101-98 victory, their tenth-straight over hov's nets.
hov had brought his young nephew daniel "julez" smith, jr. to the game and introduced him to his basketball hero, who gave him his game-worn shooting sleeve and headband. jigga is wearing a a r13 denim trucker jacket ($595) and a pair of air jordan iv “white cement” sneakers ($160), which had been recently retroed for the second time in february.
lebron and his “big brother” jay met through their friend and influential consultant william “worldwide wes” wesley in 2002, in a meeting organized after the young player had told wes that jay-z was his idol. jay had first connected with wes back in 1999, and after many years of fruitful friendship they came together—via wes’ power broking at the creative artists agency—to launch roc nation sports in 2013.
lebron was just 15 when wes started attending his games at akron’s st. vincent–st. mary high school. wes quickly befriended eddie jackson, lebron’s surrogate father, then became acquainted with lebron’s family. he had eventually won over lebron himself after introducing him to hov at one of his high school games. that first game had the rap mogul immediately understanding james’ potential, and he endeavored to attend as many of his games as possible. one game of note hov attended was the march 26, 2003 mcdonald’s all-american game, where james gave a 27-point, seven-assist and seven-rebound mvp performance.
on connecting with james so quickly after their first meetings, hov told elliott wilson in 2013 that, “we come from the same neighborhood. the same things [happened to us], like, ‘your dad left?’ ‘mine did too!’ ‘your mom’s name is gloria? mines is too!’ our story is so similar, it’s the same thing. and, you know, [like me], he’s pushing the culture forward in another way.”