As LeBron James' NBA career has skyrocketed through the years, the basketball legend — known by fans as King James — has made it abundantly clear that he'd be "absolutely nothing" without his queen in his corner. But who is Savannah James, the businesswoman and philanthropist who has been by LeBron's side since the couple met in high school?
Born Savannah Racheal Brinson in the couple's native Akron, Ohio, she has supported her husband on and off the court for decades. Even though she gets "a little bit clammy" when she hits the red carpet or appears on TV, she's been making a name for herself in her own right with her personal business ventures and her passion for giving back to young people.
Keep reading to learn more about LeBron's high school sweetheart, Savannah James.
She and LeBron met as teenagers
In 2018, Savannah told Cleveland Magazine that she first met her future husband when she was a 16-year-old high school sophomore — LeBron was a year older and attended a rival school. She recalled that he'd asked a friend for her phone number, but she decided to take his number instead. "One day I'm sitting around — I was probably bored or something — and I'm like, 'Oh, I forgot! I have this number for this guy that I can call. He seemed interested, so let's see,' " she said.
LeBron invited her to one of his basketball games, and the pair linked up with friends to go to Applebee's afterward. Their first solo date, at Outback Steakhouse, came a few weeks later.
Savannah knew it was love pretty quickly, telling Harper's Bazaar in 2010: "I knew he loved me when I left my leftovers from dinner in his car. I'd totally forgotten about them, and he brought them to me. I think he just wanted another excuse to come and see me."
She's the youngest of five children
The Ohio native grew up with four other siblings. Her parents instilled a spirit of generosity and kindness in their children, with Savannah telling Cleveland Magazine that her mom, Jennifer, and dad, JK, always had an open-door policy with their children's friends. "If they had something going on at home, or they just needed a safe haven, my mom and dad always opened up their doors," she shared.
She doesn't enjoy being in the spotlight
Savannah James Instagram
Though she's now part of a power couple, Savannah told Harper's Bazaar she finds fame "kind of weird." She said, "I've always been in the background. Now that magazines and the paparazzi are taking pictures of me, it's kind of weird. I never thought it would get to this magnitude, but clearly I was mistaken."
She echoed those sentiments to Cleveland Magazine, adding, "When you want me to be on a TV show or walk the red carpet or something, I definitely get a little bit clammy. That's a bit out of my comfort zone."
She shares three children with LeBron
During Savannah's senior year — and LeBron's rookie year in the NBA — the couple had an unplanned pregnancy with their first child, LeBron "Bronny" James Jr., who was born on Oct. 6, 2004. Of the experience, she told Harper's Bazaar, "I was thinking, 'What am I going to tell my parents? What's going to happen to his career?' I was very scared. I was bawling. But [LeBron] said, 'It's not going to slow me down, and it's not going to slow you down. We're going to keep doing what we have to do.' "
She's committed to giving back
In 2017, Savannah launched her mentorship program Women of Our Future, which provides one-on-one counseling and support for young girls in Akron, as she explained to Cleveland Magazine. She also spoke at the Akron Community Foundation's "For Women, Forever" event and was an honorary chair for the YWCA of Greater Cleveland's Circle fundraiser, both in 2018.
"I'm still a very private person," she told Cleveland Magazine. "But these things reflect the passion that I have as far as giving back, the philanthropic part of me. So with those things, I don't mind stepping out."
She runs the James household
In 2017, LeBron told Vogue that Savannah is in charge of managing the lives of the couple's three kids because of his busy schedule. "I'm gone a lot, so she is the boss of the household; she's the rule-setter," he said. "It's hard for me to go on the road for two and half weeks and then come home and tell my kids, 'Look, this is how it should be done,' when she's been home every day."
She has enjoyed career success on her own and with LeBron
While the family was in Miami during LeBron's tenure with the Miami Heat, Savannah ran The Juice Spot, a juicery in the Brickell neighborhood, which she closed after two years when the family moved back to Cleveland.
Together, the couple also launched their own furniture line with American Signature called Home Court by LeBron James, as reported by Business Insider.
LeBron leans on her for support
LeBron has praised Savannah multiple times over the years, both in interviews and on social media. As he told Harper's Bazaar in 2010: "A person like myself always needs a great sidekick and a person you can rely on no matter the circumstances. And she's that. She's got my back and I love her for that."
In September 2022, LeBron celebrated nine years of his supportive marriage by sharing a glamorous photo of himself and Savannah from a Vanity Fair shoot. He captioned the Instagram Story, "Queen," and added, "P.S. YOU SO DAMN SEXY! WOW," along with heart and drooling face emojis.
Savannah also marked the special day on Instagram, sharing an adorable photo of the couple toasting with friends. "9 years down(21), forever to go!!," she wrote in the caption. "Cheers to us my love!!🥂Happy Anniversary!!💕#JamesGang."