Kentucky freshman forward Chris Livingston has made a name for himself early in his basketball career. The five-star finished his high school career at the esteemed Oak Hill Academy before committing to UK last fall. He was named both a McDonald’s All-American and to the Jordan Brand Classic. Beyond that, though, he has the unique distinction as one of the best players from Akron, Ohio since a certain St. Vincent-St. Mary’s product went No. 1 out of high school in the 2003 NBA Draft.
LeBron James is basketball in the state of Ohio between his high school and Cleveland Cavalier careers. He was an inspiration for players like Livingston growing up in his community. He and James have actually formed a relationship over the years. Livingston says while their relationship has grown to be personal, he understands just how impactful James’ image is in his hometown.
“LeBron’s been a mentor and been a real role model ever since I was a kid. Obviously the role model aspect has taken its next step because we have a personal relationship now. He’s been huge in my life and I really appreciate the things he’s done,” said Livingston. “He definitely does play a big role in a kid’s life there because he’s always giving back, whether it’s schools or camps or gyms. It’s like a lot of the camps that kids are usually coming out of are what LeBron put the money into. It’s got his logos and things like that. It does play a major role in youth sports in Akron.”
Livingston signed with Klutch Sports, led by James’ agent Rich Paul, ahead of his freshman season at Kentucky. As the biggest agency name in the NBA, he’ll have access to them in order to handle his NIL ventures.
The most notable opportunity from his time with Klutch has been his opportunity to star in a movie. Shooting Stars, a biopic from Universal about James’ time in high school, is set to release in 2023. Livingston plays a rival player from a high school he actually attended as a freshman. He said he was blessed to be a part of the project and is excited to see it next year.
“I’m playing one of the better players that LeBron played in his early childhood in high school. My freshmen year I went to play for Buchtel High School. LeBron went to (St.) Vincent-St. Mary’s. They’re two rivals so I’m playing the player on the other high school,” said Livingston. “It’s great being a part of something like that. It’s with Universal Studios so it’s going to be a huge project, so it’s just a blessing even being a part of it.”
Having a relationship with a player like James along with having access to Klutch’s resources is beyond invaluable to a player like Livingston as he’ll enter the business side of the sports world in Lexington. Although he’s already been a Hollywood movie star, the Wildcats will hope the freshman will be a star for them when he takes the court this season.