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US Basketball Sensation LeBron James Plays First Pro Game - 2003-10-31

High school basketball sensation LeBron James made his debut Wednesday in the National Basketball Association with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James put on an impressive display even though his team did not win.

The host Sacramento Kings beat the Cleveland Cavaliers, 106-92, in the first game of the NBA season for both teams. LeBron James began his professional career with 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals while displaying a blend of flash and basketball fundamentals. James played 43 minutes in his first official game since taking Akron, Ohio's Saint Vincent-Saint Mary High School to a state title earlier this year.

The 18-year-old 2.03 meter tall, 109-kilogram James says he is most concerned about the total number of points his team has at the end of the game.

"Coming off a loss, I really try to shy away from my individual stats because I always feel I could have done a little bit more to get us a win," he said. "A little bit down the stretch I could have been a little bit more aggressive. The whole team could. Just a few defensive stops here and there that we could have gotten that would get us a victory. But it did not turn out that way."

LeBron James has been compared to the great Michael Jordan, who scored just 16 points in his first game for the Chicago Bulls in 1984. James had 12 points in the first quarter alone and 19 by the end of the third period with an array of jumpers, running one-handers, finger rolls, driving layups and a thunderous right-handed dunk. But he says the rest of his Cleveland teammates also need to have solid games to win.

"I am a point guard. I had the eye in the first quarter [was shooting well]. And it was time to get some other people in the game in the second quarter," he said. "I need to shoot to be in the game. And tonight we could have gotten one [victory], we could have stolen one."

The arrival of LeBron James has brought unprecedented attention to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Television ratings have soared for the team, especially in Cleveland, where there was a staggering 433-percent increase in viewers Wednesday compared to last year's opening game. James' debut has also triggered a rush for tickets to see the Cavaliers play at home.