The Story Of The Player That Was Once Ranked Ahead LeBron James
September 10, 2021
LeBron James is the greatest basketball player of all time. However, one particular player ranked ahead of great LeBron.
The talented player was part of an incredibly talented group. LeBron, Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudamire, and many others made headlines throughout their entire careers. Cooke was definitely on the top of the list. LeBron became an icon, but, Cooke got stuck in the middle of nowhere. He didn’t get the best advice and was destined to fail.
The player who ranked ahead of LeBron but didn’t get a chance
LeBron was a top pick. The Cleveland Cavaliers selected him with their first pick. The king of basketball has been a dominant force for two decades and he still plays elite basketball. LeBron is 17-time All-Star and has four rings in his pocked. He is the first player to win a championship and a Finals MVP award with three different teams.
Darko Milicic was No.2, and Melo was selected third. Chris Bosh was the No.4 pick and Dwyane Wade was No.5.
Cooke was a great basketball player in high school. He was even rated higher than King James as a prospect. The talented player was a 6-foot-6 guard who could play at an excellent level. Sadly, Cooke didn’t get a chance to play his best basketball in the NBA.
In his sophomore year, Cooke was averaging 30 points and 15 rebounds per game at La Salle Academy. He went to Northern Valley Regional High School in New Jersey for the final two years. In his junior season, he was averaging 25 points, 10 rebounds, two steals, and two blocks per game. By his senior year, Cooke was up to 31.5 points per game but became academically ineligible after eight games.
After the 2002-02 season, Cooke attracted the attention of several colleges.
How will Cooke describe his experience?
“My message today and every day is academics should come first,” he said. “At the end of the day, when you talk about a student-athlete, the student comes first. I had an opportunity to be an NBA superstar one day. But I was around people who told me I should go pro out of high school. They told me I was going to be a lottery pick. I shouldn’t have listened to them.”
Radmila graduated with a degree in Translation & Interpreting. She is an NBA and NFL writer for The Ball Zone, and has been covering popular sports topics for several years. A loyal Lakers fan, she puts energy into reporting big roster moves, potential trades, on-court-accomplishments, and off-court rumors.