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LeBron's teamwork approach started as Akron kid

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Posted at 2:19 PM, Jun 02, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-03 07:51:15-04

When "King James" was just a young prince growing up in Akron, Summit Lake Community Center was his castle where he held court.

Inside the brick building on West Crosier Street, there is plenty of LBJ decor highlighting the center as the place where he got his start, including pictures, magazine and newspaper articles, his basketball shoes and a mosaic of a younger looking James.

Audley McGill coached Lebron between the ages of 7 and 10 during a youth basketball clinic at Summit Lake.

McGill remembers that LeBron embraced the concept of teamwork and "making the right basketball play" right away.

"His mentality was, and he was coached to, make sure you get people involved, run the offense and score when you can," McGill said.

McGill believes James is continuing to follow that approach, especially during the Cleveland Cavaliers playoff run, in which he hasn't always been the highest scorer on the team.

It's not like he's failing to knock down baskets. He averaged 26 points against the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, but he hasn't been forced to carry the Cavs.

Jerry Rowland, an Akron recreation supervisor who has known James for 23 years, said the NBA superstar appears to be more comfortable this year as "a facilitator."

"It's easier for him to let Love and Kyrie develop their game because his game is there," Rowland said.

Christian Bates played with and against James as a child and is excited about the chances of the Cavs winning the first championship for Cleveland since 1964.

Bates feels the best is yet to come from James in The Finals.

"I don't think any other superstar in the league would be able to distribute the ball the way he does," Bates said. "He's pacing himself because he knows he has something to conquer during The Finals.