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Nov 22, 2011

LeBron reveals growing Reds fandom

NBA superstar LeBron James says reading up on the history of Liverpool FC has humbled him, with the Miami Heat player revealing his newfound admiration for manager Kenny Dalglish and captain Steven Gerrard.

James, 26, recently became a minority shareholder in Liverpool and made his first visit to Anfield last month to watch the Reds draw with Manchester United.

The US basketball icon tweeted his delight at being part of a matchday crowd at the time and has since immersed himself in the club's history.

Talking to The Guardian about his Anfield tweet, James said: "That came from the simple fact of how passionate and loyal those fans are. But to walk through the facility the day before - to see all the history and achievements was very powerful.

"Liverpool have won 19 [actually 18] league championships and it meant a lot to read about King Kenny and Steven Gerrard - a hometown kid who now captains the team. And then to be at Anfield and see 40,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs, the whole game, was an unbelievable experience for me."

And James believes that Dalglish's current Liverpool crop can recreate the glory days of the 1970s and 80s, during which time the Merseysiders were the dominant force in English football.

"Any time you have so much history and so much power behind their story, there is great potential to continue that expansion," James said. "Liverpool are definitely one of those clubs. They really are like Manchester United - and the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees.

"There are some teams and logos you see, no matter where you are in the world, and you know exactly who they are and what they mean. I see Liverpool in that group. They're striving to be a champion and I'm striving to do the same. It would be great if we could do it in the same year.

And despite being one of the world's most famous sportsmen, James says he was humbled by the fact that some of Liverpool's star players were aware of who he was.

"King Kenny is something else!" he said. "His accent is very strong. So it was very difficult to understand what he was saying - but it was great being around him and [Luis] Suarez and Gerrard and Dirk [Kuyt] and those guys. I was very humbled that they knew me."

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