Before a couple
- LeBron was the top-ranked basketball prospect in the country
- Savannah was a cheerleader and softball player
Both James and Brinson were born and are natives of Akron, Ohio. 17-year-old James spotted 16-year-old Brinson at a football game and asked her to come to a basketball game. At first, "I had no idea who he was," says Savannah, "I went, and I was like, Wow, this guy is pretty popular in here," she remembers.
“I’m like, ‘Um, nope. I’ll take his number,’ ” remembers Savannah, who didn’t know much about the basketball phenom at the time. “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.’ ” They struck up a conversation and James ask her to come to a basketball game then to a local Applebee’s with a group of friends afterward.
Then it was a true courting session over few calls on the phone, they had their first date at the local Outback Steakhouse. Dinner conversation was "basic," she recalls. "But I knew he loved me when I left my leftovers from dinner in his car," she says, giggling. "I'd totally forgotten about them, and he brought them to me. I think he just wanted another excuse to come and see me."
The relationship progressed quickly, and soon Brinson and James were inseparable. She claims she had no idea her man would become the most sought-after player 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 says, though he was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated before he even graduated. Then, during her senior year—and James's rookie year in the NBA—she discovered she was pregnant. It was not planned, she says. "I was thinking, 'What am I going to tell my parents? What's going to happen to his career?'" says Brinson, who is the youngest of five children. "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.'"
Was not having the child an option? "No. That was not an option for me. Even if it would have been my mom's advice, I would have fought it to the end," she says. As news of her pregnancy spread, rumors began swirling, the most popular one being that she, eager to trap James, got pregnant on purpose. "That was clearly not the case," she says. "I had a good group of friends around me, so I didn't let those things get to me. If I did, I would have been running home crying every day."
She was five months along at her prom, wearing a dress that she'd carefully designed. "If I think about it now, it looked terrible," she says, ruefully shaking her head. "A halter top with a mermaid bottom and rhinestones." She shrugs. "It was cute at the time."
Before their marriage, the couple had two sons, people notice the diamondless finger on Brinson's left hand. She says a wedding is not on the horizon, though she has been dreaming about that day since she was six. "I've definitely not put a fire under his ass," she says. "I would never rush him to do something like that. We're really comfortable with the way things are now. And it's not up to me. When it happens, it happens. "We talk about it. If we do it, I want it to be forever," she continues. James proposed to her on December 31, 2011 at a party celebrating New Year's Eve and his 27th birthday. The two were married on September 14, 2013 in San Diego.
“He is truly a king to his queen, if you will,” Savannah says of the attraction. “He treats me with so much respect — I mean, it’s hard to not love him, with the way that he is with me and the kids and his mom and just everyone who’s around him. He’s a really, really humble guy for everything that he has and everything that he’s done.”
When it comes to the kids, she says she is the family's disciplinarian and James is the easygoing dad. "He is a very youthful father," she says as her two boisterous sons scamper around the restaurant. "He plays with them as if he was their age. But I'm still a cool mom. I let them listen to Lady Gaga."
Lebron and Savannah have three children.
- LeBron Raymone James Jr: Born in 2004.
- Bryce Maximus James: Born in 2007
- Zhuri Nova James: Born in 2014