AKRON, Ohio — The year is 2003. Headphones still come with a cord, flip phones are seen as "advanced," and the nation was just beginning to learn the name of a "Kid from Akron."
Yes, 2003 marked LeBron James' senior year at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, when he led the Irish to their third Ohio state boys basketball championship in four seasons. That June, he was drafted first overall by the Cavaliers, thus beginning a legendary career as an NBA superstar and community activist.
James has worn his Akron roots on his sleeve his entire life. That was plainly on display Sunday evening, when not only played the starring role in Crypto.com's Super Bowl commercial, but the supporting part, as well.
Using CGI facial animation, the ad takes us back 19 years the bedroom of James' childhood home, with Snoop Dogg blaring in the background. Present-day LeBron has arrived from the future to talk to his baby-faced past "self," who seems enamored with a "crunk" future of wireless headphones, video phones, and electric cars.
As 37-year-old LeBron reminisces, 18-year-old LeBron (wearing an St. V warmup jersey) asks if the hype around him is "too much" and if he's "ready" to go to the next level. The camera briefly shows a newspaper asking if James is going "straight to the league."
"I can't tell you everything," future LeBron answers, "but if you want to make history, you've got to call your own shots."
Both LeBrons break out into a chant of "We goin' to the league!" Obviously, we know how it worked out from there.
The Crypto.com spot wasn't James' only appearance at the Super Bowl. Now playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, the four-time NBA champion was actually at SoFi Stadium cheering on the hometown Rams and taking in the halftime performances.