City Desk

D.C. Lawyer Sues “Son” LeBron James for Defamation

Leicester Bryce Stovell

Washington attorney Leicester Bryce Stovell remembers that night on 1983. He was at Chinatown bar d.c. space, and he had his eye on a woman: Gloria James. He took her home, only to hear from her a few months later. She was pregnant, and planned to name the baby LeBron.

“Well, if he’s mine, make sure he plays basketball,” he told her. And Stovell's former lover agreed—that baby grew up to be Miami Heat superstar LeBron James.

Of course, according to Gloria James and a paternity test, Stovell's version of events didn't happen. Undeterred after losing a previous lawsuit over whether he is James' father, however, Stovell is back.

"I'm not certain that I'm LeBron's father—it just looks extremely likely based upon all the information that's available to me," says Stovell, who believes the NBA MVP himself tampered with the paternity test.

In a lawsuit filed this month, Stovell argues that his "son" has defamed him by telling a Sports Illustrated reporter that his father abandoned him. Because of coverage of the previous lawsuit, people naturally assume that Stovell is the father in question, injuring his credibility practicing law, according to the suit.

"My father wasn't around when I was a kid," James says in the Sports Illustrated interview at the center of the case. Stovell argues that because people believe he is James' father, clients have refused to hire him for some legal work. In fact, Stovell says, it's not his fault—he had no idea until a few years ago that he could be James' father.

Stovell wants $500,000 in damages from his purported son. James' attorney declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Stovell may not have the paternity test on his side, but he does have the testimony of Rolando Pharr, an Akron, Ohio, man who claims to have worked with James' mother when the future basketball player was a child. In a deposition included in the lawsuit, Pharr claims that Gloria James told him her son's father's name, which, Pharr reacted to as "a fucked up name." That "fucked up name," Pharr realized a few years ago, was none other than Leicester Bryce Stovell.

And Pharr should know about James—he's one of six Ohio men in a group called Free Afrika who claim have to participated in a "Dr. J Christening" of a young James. And what's a "Dr. J Christening"? A polygraph examination of Pharr, included as evidence in Stovell's lawsuit, explains:

Did you raise LeBron James in the "Kunta Kinte" style three separate times and say, "I christen thee the next Dr. J" each time?

Answer: Yes

Did the members of Free Afrika toast LeBron, "To the next Dr. J" after the second time you raised him up?

Answer: Yes

In exchange for performing the christening, the participants claim in a video unrelated to Stovell's lawsuit that they deserve $6 million from James and his mother.

But while Pharr may looking for a payday, Stovell says his own investigation is about family. "It's fundamentally my attitude towards families and family relationships," he says. "I think they are immensely important things for everyone and I think there's a moral dimension to how we treat these relationships."

Photo courtesy of Leicester Bryce Stovell

Correction: Due to a reporting error, this post initially misstated the amount of money Stovell requested in his complaint.

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  • Leicester Stovell

    LBS defamation suit includes prayer for relief for $500,000 rather than $1 million. Citing amounts in prayers for relief, and inflating the amount, is mnisleading. There also was a considerable gap between gloria james advising me she was pregnant, seemingly in passing, and my saying, "if he's mine, make sure he plays basketball." by that time it was intended to make light of the situation since by then she'd already led me (in a way that would have led anyone)to believe that i was not the father. As for the alliterative name, she'd said, "it's just the name of a friend of my cousin's", whom she told me lived in DC. so I was left thinking she'd simply mentioned it because it was interesting rather than that i was involved directly. I forgot all about it for 22 years. And when I recalled it, my thought was a fellow named McCleland was LeBr's father. I simply called their attorney - whom I knew of from high school, to confirm LeBr's father was another. He, however, said to me that person had been eliminated as a father via DNA testing. So I thought they were sincere about wanting to identify the real father. Subsequent information, however, indicated to me that was not the case. By 2010 it began to appear likely that I was the father and that LeBr personally might have falsified the 2007 test out of a conviction that his father had abandoned him. As for others thinking i'm LeBr's father, there is the resemblance, the alliterative names and the fact that LeBron hs given his 2d son the name "bryce," my middle name. It's a difficult case to crack because there are so many layers to get through. In addition, people with little knowledge of the facts are skeptical, primarily about motivations. Mine, however, are pristine.

  • Ben

    " Stovell wants $500,000 million in damages"

    $500,000 million?! Holy crap - that's so much!

  • Steph

    Is this for real? lol. This lawsuit is going nowhere. And that dude doesn't look anything like James.

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  • Alum

    $500,000 million -- isn't that 500 billion?

  • Fact Finder

    LeBron James was born 364 days after the year 1983 ended.

    Even if Mr. Stovell had sex with Gloria James on the last day of 1983 (December 31st) it's IMPOSSIBLE that Gloria would be pregnant for 364 days.

    YOU ARE A LIAR. And you are not a sir.

  • Leicester Stovell

    it's a two count complaint for defamation and false light, with a "prayer for relief" of $500k each. that's $500,000 each. However, one rarely recovers under both theories of liability. typically, they're in the alternative. adding them together to get to a million is, thus, misleading, although not necessarily intentionally (people who don't know they're usually in the alternative might tend to add the claims together). another error i didn't correct is the 1983 yr of meeting. it actually was march, 1984. that was clearly stated in the complaint in the case that's before the court of appeals. who knows where the reporter got 1983 from. moreover, dc space isn't in chinatown and never was. the meeting place was at 7th and E streets N.E. in DC; blocks from chinatown, and dc space no longer exists. it's now the site of a starbucks coffee shop. finally, the look alike "issue" just depends on which photo one picks and how honest one is being. Due to what happened at the SEC, with very "important" people lying in my EEO cases, getting caught and then having to orchestrate perjury in an effort to retrieve themselves, the case also is saturated with racism. Really. some big law firms banded together to protect their "golden boys." this is a huge factor here given LeBron came tro be represented by a big firm with toes to all of this when he was in high school. the lack of truth in media reporting these days is making you folks a country of peasants: i.e., naive, with no idea of what's really happening. it's an effort to make me look ridiculous because they, in my opinion, are desperate not to get caught in their lies. you people have no idea how carefully your opinions about a story like this have been molded. the media's the mockery; not me.

  • Leicester Stovell

    I have to add: compare what i wrote to "fact finder." and he even calls ME a liar. you people are pathetic; in a very sad shape. that's individually and collectively. in my humble opinion, this also has affected judicial decisionmaking. the so-called fourth estate is broken. we have a nation of uninformed, manipulated people. sheep. fleeced sheep.

  • http://Non-applicable Rolando Pharr

    My name is Rolando Pharr. I'm the gentleman who provided Leicester Bryce Stovell with the sworn affidavit he included in his lawsuit. I do not know and have never met Mr. Stovell.

    There's a true story that i have to tell about LeBron and Gloria James. It's been circulating in different forms on the internet since February 2010. The story hasn't been taken seriously and i'm not sure that the James' are aware of it. I decided to help Mr. Stovell because his lawsuit would help my story get the attention of LeBron and Gloria James. I'm 100% positive that Gloria James will remember me.

    Anybody who gives a damn can take a look at the YouTube video "LeBron's Cosmic Connection". It's the true story of how i met Gloria and baby LeBron James. It details how i was picked up and carried around on the shoulders of Muhammad Ali as a little boy. How Dr J (NBA Legend Julius Erving) was my idol as a teen and young adult. It tells how Gloria James helped me a few hours a week at a retail clothing store in Akron. It also tells the story of how five of my team mates from the best basketball team in Akron, (Free Afrika), helped me Christen three month old LeBron to be the next Dr. J

    After LeBron was raised in the air for the third time and Christened to be the next Dr J, my team mates left the store. Gloria James and i discussed the Christening, Dr J and LeBron's NBA future. I predicted that LeBron would be an NBA star. That he would play for the Cavs and would be a high flying player like Dr J. Gloria and i started to write out an agreement which LeBron would sign with an X but a female customer came in. We instead made a handshake agreement (twice). When LeBron became an NBA star as i predicted, Gloria would see to it that each one of the 6 men who participated in his Dr. J Christening would be made a millionaire.

    I've taken and passed two polygraphs about LeBrons' Dr. J Christening, the predictions i made for him and the handshake agreement (twice) that i made with Gloria James. These documents are attached to Mr Stovell's lawsuit.

    I am also willing to take another polygraph to support my statement that Gloria James and i had a conversation where she told me Leicester Bryce Stovell was LeBron's father.

    Whether Mr. Stovell is LeBrons' father....I don't know. If he is it would be nice if they could work things out. At least he could have a relationship with his grandsons. I pray that the James' do the right thing. Check out all 3 videos at Rolando Pharr on YouTube.