LeBron James honors legacy of late soccer journalist Grant Wahl: ‘May he rest in paradise’

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James gave his condolences to late soccer writer Grant Wahl’s family when speaking to the media following a 133-122 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

Wahl, 48, died while covering the World Cup in Qatar. He was working for Sports Illustrated in 2002 when he covered James as a high school standout in Akron, Ohio.

"First of all, my condolences go out to his family,” James said.

Wahl wrote a cover story on James with the headline “The Chosen One,” which introduced the 17-year-old phenom to a national audience.

James, now a 20-year NBA vet, reflected on that time in his career and his relationship with Wahl.

"I'm very fond of Grant and having that cover shoot — me being a teenager and him covering that, it was a pretty cool thing. And he was always pretty cool to be around. He spent a lot of time in my hometown of Akron covering me over the course of time before that cover story came out."

In addition to Sports Illustrated, Wahl also lent his pen to CBS Sports, Fox Sports and most recently his own subscription site, GrantWahl.com. He eventually moved away from basketball and poured himself into soccer coverage. Throughout the changes in both of their careers, James said the impact Wahl made on him as a schoolboy is everlasting.

“I've always kind of watched from a distance. Even when I moved up in the ranks and became a professional and he kind of went to a different sport and things of that nature over the years, anytime his name would come up I would always think back to me as a teenager and having Grant in our building down at St. V,” James said.

“So, it's a tragic loss. It's unfortunate to lose someone as great as he was and I wish his family, like I said, the best. And may he rest in paradise."

James expanded on his comments with a tweet Saturday:

Dec 9, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) during the anthem before action against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James during the anthem before action against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. (Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)