The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
 
Freshman Sensation LeBron James Leads Cincinnati to NCAA Title in Alternate Reality
Originally posted 4/5/2004

James goes up and over UCLA's Chandler (who, in this particular alternate reality, has his hair like this)
SAN ANTONIO - Cincinnati's LeBron James finished off his sensational freshman season in impressive fashion Monday, leading the No. 1 seeded Bearcats to a 79-72 win over All-American Tyson Chandler's defending champion UCLA Bruins in an NCAA men's basketball championship game taking place in a parallel universe nearly identical to our own. "This feels so good, I can't even tell you," said James, who was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.

The win marked Cincinnati's first championship since the school won back-to-back titles in 1961 and 1962. "I'd love to take credit for this, but I can't," said Bearcats head coach Len Bias. "LeBron just took over. That's got to be the best game he's played all year. UCLA deserves all the credit in the world just for hanging in there."

James, who was heavily recruited by almost every major Division I basketball program as a senior at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and surprised many observers by choosing Cincinnati last February, led all scorers with 34 points in the championship game. Following the victory, he received congratulatory phone calls from Ohio Governor Bob Taft and President Al Gore.

"I knew Cincinnati was the right choice for me," said James, the nylon net he cut down during the postgame celebration draped around his neck. "This just proves it. Now let's see if we can get three more!"

"It's tough," said Southern California naive Chandler, who led underdog UCLA to its 12th title as a junior last season. "I wanted to get another one. If only I could come back again next year."

"Tyson's got nothing to be ashamed of," said UCLA head coach Steve Lavin, who was voted 2004 National Coach of the Year on Wednesday. "He played his heart out. Everybody did. I'm proud of my guys. LeBron was just too much for us to handle."

Chandler finishes his UCLA career as the school's all-time leading scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, and will be remembered for his game-winning buzzer beater against Mike Dunleavy, Jr., Carlos Boozer, Jay Williams and the heavily-favored Duke Blue Devils in the championship game of last year's NCAA tournament.

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