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Thursday, May 23 2013 6:26 PM EDT2013-05-23 22:26:34 GMT
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A Columbia woman has been arrested after a child in her care died over the weekend.More >>
AKRON, OH (WOIO) -
Rolando Pharr and his buddies back in the day were a part of a very talented basketball team in Ohio called Free Afrika. They dominated Akron's prestigious park and rec league.
"The first year I played with you we won the championship," said Rolando Pharr.
"That was the only year we won the championship," said Troy Tanner, one of Pharr's teammates.
Pharr says in 1985 at the now-empty Rolling Acres Mall in Akron he worked as assistant manager at the Bottom Half clothing store when Gloria James and baby LeBron strolled into their lives.
"I was running the store by myself. So Gloria started coming up. She would come in. Run the errands for me," said Pharr.
Pharr says while Gloria ran errands, he watched three-month-old baby LeBron.
"I remember specifically talking about his hands because they were abnormally big," said another teammate, David Mason.
Big hands also belonged to their favorite NBA super star, Dr. J.
So Pharr and his teammates re-enacted that famous scene from the movie Roots right in the middle of the store.
"I picked up his baby seat off the counter and I raised him up in the air and I christen thee the next Doctor J," said Pharr.
His teammates recollection of LeBron's baptism into the NBA is not as clear.
"I remember coming to the counter and that was about it," said Robert Davis.
"I think there was some strategic things going on in the cosmos," said Tanner.
"I remember holding the baby up and all that," said Mason.
Pharr says he raised up LeBron three times. The last one happened right in front of Gloria.
"I christen thee the next Doctor J. Put him down and handed him to her," said Pharr.
"She was really nervous. She kind a shook almost. I told her... her son was going to be an NBA star. The next Doctor J," added Pharr.
We all know the rest of the story. LeBron rose to NBA stardom.
So is it fairy tale or the honest truth that these four wise men predicted LeBron would be as big as Dr. J? Pharr says he's passed two lie detector tests.
We reached out to Gloria James and so far she isn't saying a word.