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LeBron James gets first in-person look at Duke men's basketball in Charlottesville

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LeBron James sat courtside at John Paul Jones Arena Saturday night along with Lakers teammate Rajon Rondo.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.—At the game's first media timeout, everyone started pointing to the basket just in front of the Virginia band.

Amongst the Cavalier faithful sat a 34-year-old man in a red hoodie. Under most circumstances, he'd just blend into the crowd. 

But when you're 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, that's no easy task.

And when you're LeBron James, it's entirely impossible.

James, a four-time NBA MVP, made the quick trip down from Philadelphia to watch Mike Krzyzewski and second-ranked Duke challenge No. 3 Virginia, less than 24 hours before his Los Angeles Lakers play Sunday afternoon. The three-time world champion sat courtside with teammate Rajon Rondo and a handful of others from his agency, Klutch Sports.

Coach K, who manned the sidelines when James played for Team USA at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics in Beijing and London, respectively, had a bit of an idea the former No. 1 overall pick would be inside John Paul Jones Arena Saturday night.

"He texted me today that he might be here," Krzyzewski said. "He and I are really good friends. He helped me look good in Beijing and London, so he’s welcome to come around any time. But that was cool that he was here."

It was probably even cooler for the Blue Devils' young stars.

Cam Reddish, who attended James' Skills Academy as a high schooler, had previously met James. Apparently, the pair caught up at a coffee shop in Brentwood, Calif., along with James' agent, Rich Paul, in the summer of 2017.

"I saw him when he first walked out," Reddish said. "It was pretty cool that he was here and I’m glad he saw us win."

R.J. Barrett, who led Duke's offense with 26 points, had few words when asked about the future Hall of Famer's appearance.

"It’s great to have the best player in the world in the building," Barrett said.

Of course, Tre Jones was arguably more excited about the fellow point guard in the building sitting next to James.

"Rajon Rondo is someone I’ve been watching since I was really young. I’ve always loved his game, and just as a point guard, he’s always been able to control the game and been able to win. That’s what’s most important, so I’ve always watched him and I’ve tried to take a lot from his game.

"Just like anybody else showing up, when the game starts, you’ve just got to play basketball no matter who’s watching.... I didn’t notice [LeBron] until probably the second half, but it’s hard to miss."

And the guy who many have compared to James, Zion Williamson? He allegedly didn't even see the Lakers star.

"LeBron was out there? I didn’t see LeBron," Williamson said.

Just another night in the life for college basketball's celebrity squad.

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