Lebron's First Car Wasn't Your Typical High School Ride

You never forget your first car. There's an enormous sentimental value attached to that purchase — even if, as is often the case, the model itself isn't the most spectacular. It's all about the exhilarating feeling of car ownership and freedom for a lot of new drivers, and high school budgets don't typically stretch to the most high-end models. 

Even some celebrities start their driving career in a humble coach, though that's not always the case. AutoNation.com, as reported by Fast Company in September 2015, gathered social media data and concluded that the top three first cars purchased by new drivers in the United States were, in ascending order: the Honda Accord, Honda Civic, and Ford Mustang. 

TopGearBox reports that Jeremy Clarkson, one of the planet's most dedicated car-lovers, started his driving career in a Ford Cortina. As for NBA superstar LeBron James, you wouldn't catch the young baller in a Civic, however. His first car was a rather iconic Hummer. Here's the story of the basketball legend's H2, and what happened to it.

How LeBron got his Hummer H2

An 18th birthday is an enormous occasion. One of the biggest milestones in our lives, it's a time to reflect on our childhood — often in the form of humiliating old photographs being shared by friends and family on the big day — and anticipate the future. Gifts are also often given to celebrate the occasion. What was LeBron given for his eighteenth? A Hummer H2.

ESPN reports that the 2003 H2 was a gift from proud mother Gloria James. This model was the early-2000s follow-up to the H1, a powerhouse of a vehicle that was adapted from the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle used by the U.S. military during operations in the era of the Persian Gulf War. It was big, powerful, and outside of a military setting, rather impractical — but it certainly made an impression at the time.

So, too, did the H2, when it arrived on the scene the following decade. Weighing in at 6,400 pounds and measuring 16 feet from bumper to bumper, it was quite the jaw-dropping vehicle. That said, it drank through gas at around 10 miles per gallon. This was before the days of Hummer EVs, of course, and gas wasn't nearly as expensive as it is now. 

All in all, it was far from the easiest first car to manage in terms of its size, power, and fuel economy. However, convention and modesty aren't really factors in LeBron's life now, so why should they have been then?

What happened to LeBron's powerhouse H2?

In January 2003, The New York Times reported that the Ohio High School Athletic Association was forced to officially look into the origins of the H2. The organization needed to ensure that LeBron had not been given it as a sort of bribe — his then-status as an amateur was at stake prior to his joining the NBA.

Gloria James had borrowed $50,000 to gift her son the SUV, but where did it go from there? Many celebrity vehicles, of course, find their way to museums and other public displays, and that was the case here. In 2013, the vehicle was bought, and the Greater Cleveland Auto Auction became the home of LeBron's Hummer. Interestingly, a November 2018 auction conducted by Goldin Auctions failed to find a new owner for the vintage behemoth. A legacy vehicle with such a legacy owner may well start a new life in the future, however.

Being the superstar he has become, LeBron James owns a fleet of magnificent vehicles. Ultimately, in its own way, this particular vehicle is both a tiny and a needlessly huge piece of basketball history.