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From high school sweethearts to parents of three: A timeline of LeBron and Savannah James’ relationship

LeBron James and his wife, Savannah James, have been together for more than two decades and celebrated huge milestones.

The pair first met back in high school during the early ‘00s, before LeBron officially entered the NBA in 2003. Following his first year as a Cleveland Cavaliers player, he and Savannah had two children. Years later, they announced their engagement and later welcomed a third child.

Throughout their 20-year relationship, they’ve done philanthropic work together and supported each other’s individual careers.

During a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on 7 February, the Los Angeles Lakers star became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer while his wife and children cheered in the stands at the Arena. Before LeBron surpassed the record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Savannah did a pre-record video to congratulate her husband and celebrate his success.

“I am so proud of you,” she said. “I witness day in and day out the hard work, the sacrifice and the professionalism that you put into this game every day.”

From praising each other’s careers to raising a family, here’s a timeline of LeBron and Savannah’s relationship.

The pair met and started dating while in high school in 2002.

Back in 2002, Savannah was a 16-year-old sophomore at Buchtel High School in Ohio while LeBron was a 17-year-old junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary, a rival school nearby. During an interview with Cleveland Magazine in 2017, Savannah recalled how she was connected to her now-husband through a mutual friend who told her that LeBron wanted her number.

“I’m like: ‘Um, nope. I’ll take his number,’” she told the publication. “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.’”

After attending one of his basketball games and a group dinner with his friends, Savannah said they went on a one-on-one date. From there, the relationship continued to grow.

LeBron joined the NBA in 2003.

The high school senior was drafted to the NBA in 2003 and began his his first year as a Cleveland Cavaliers player. During an interview with Harper’s Bazaar in 2010, Savannah said she had no idea that her then-boyfriend was going to become such a major figure in the NBA.

“I just thought he’d be a hometown hero for his era and it would be over. He was a normal high school senior,” she explained.

They welcomed their first son in 2004.

LeBron and Savannah’s first child, Bronny, was born in 2004, following the basketball player’s rookie year. During her interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Savannah recalled how she discovered in high school that she was pregnant. She confessed that while she had concerns about becoming a mother, LeBron comforted her through it.

“I was thinking: ‘What am I going to tell my parents? What’s going to happen to his career?’” she said. “I was very scared. I was bawling. But he said: ‘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.’”

In July 2023, Bronny was rushed to hospital after suffering a cardiac arrest during a basketball workout at the University of Southern California (USC). According to a report by TMZ on 25 July, the 18-year-old was picked up by ambulance at USC’s Galen Center, where his school’s basketball team plays and practises, after a 911 call was reportedly made at 9.26am Monday.

Bronny, who has committed to playing for USC’s Trojans in the fall, has since been released from the Intensive Care Unit and is in a stable condition. TMZ also reported that they spoke to a representative for LeBron’s family, who asked for “respect and privacy,” before noting that they will “update media when there is more information”.

“LeBron and Savannah wish to publicly send their deepest thanks and appreciation to the USC medical and athletic staff for their incredible work and dedication to the safety of their athletes,” the spokesperson added.

The couple had their second child in 2007.

Three years after welcoming Bronny, LeBron and Savannah announced the birth of their second son, Bryce, in 2007.

LeBron proposed on New Year’s Eve in 2011.

The athlete asked his wife to marry him in 2011 during a New Year’s Eve party. Months later, he spoke to Oprah Winfrey about the proposal and why he felt like he did it at the right time.

“I had been thinking about it, you know, for a while but it just came to me one day and I was like: ‘This is a part of growth for me,” he said. “And this is the lady, the woman, I’ve been with, through all the good and all the bad.

He continued: “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.”

In 2010, a year before his engagement, LeBron and his family moved to Miami in response to his switching from his hometown team to the Miami Heat.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

They got married in 2013.

LeBron and Savannah officially tied the knot in 2013 at a star-studded event. As reported by USA Today, they had a private ceremony during their three-day wedding weekend in San Diego.

Along with their close family members, many of LeBron’s teammates attended the nuptials including Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Wade’s longtime partner and now-wife, Gabrielle Union, was also at the wedding.

LeBron and Savannah welcomed their daughter in 2014.

The couple announced the birth of their third child, Zhuri, in 2014. In 2018, LeBron expressed his gratitude for Zhuri during his speech to accept the Harlem Fashion Row 360 Award.

“Three years ago, this bright spot right here happened to our family. And not only did she change me, she’s made me a better person. A more dedicated person, a stronger person,” he said at the event, via USA Today. “I guess a more sensitive person that realised that I have so much more of a responsibility to women in general. So, thank you, Zhuri.”

They both continued doing philanthropic work in their hometown in 2017.

Savannah launched her mentorship program “Women of Our Future” in 2017. The initiative began with 16 women from her old high school, Buchtel CLC, being paired with a mentor. The mother of three has also been involved with The LeBron James Family Foundation, which was founded in 2004. The organisation is dedicated to supporting students in the basketball star’s hometown, Akron, Ohio.

During an interview with Vogue in 2017, Savannah expressed how LeBron inspired her through the way in which he encourages children.

“If there’s nothing more you can do for a child, just constantly encourage them and set them on the right path when it comes to sports or their schoolwork or nurturing a hobby—with whatever it is. Just be a constant source of encouragement,” she said. “That’s what LeBron talks about—never give up.”

They celebrated their nine-year wedding anniversary in 2022.

The pair took to Instagram to celebrate their anniversary in September of last year.  In a story posted at the time, LeBron shared a photo of him and his wife from a Vanity Fair photoshoot. The caption of the post, via People, read: “Queen…PS. YOU SO DAMN SEXY! WOW.”

Savannah also posted a photo of her and her husband on Instagram, in which they raised their glasses for a toast with friends. She shared a sweet tribute to him in the caption, writing: “9 years down(21), forever to go!! Cheers to us my love!!!...Happy Anniversary!!”

LeBron breaks the all-time NBA scoring record in 2023.

In the game against Oklahoma on 7 February, LeBron scored 38 points. And while his team didn’t win the match, he still became the all-time top points scorer and surpassed former Lakers player Abdul-Jabbar’s record.

Following his win, LeBron was greeted by different members of his family, including his wife and children. On the court, he also received a hug from his daughter.