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There’s another athlete named ‘Lebron’ that’s also king of their chosen sport

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Padel Lebron, Juan Lebron

What are the odds?

‘King James’ has been this generation’s basketballing GOAT — he’s still one of the best players in the NBA, at the tender age of 39.

But while you’ve almost definitely heard of LeBron James, have you heard of Padel Lebron?

OK, ‘Padel Lebron’ isn’t his actual name, but when you share this story with a mate, that’s most likely what you’ll be referring to him as.

It’s an unlikely phenomenon, a first in sport you’d have to say. So it’s time you get your mind across Padel Lebron.

Padel Lebron: The king

Named Juan Lebrón Chincoa, Padel LeBron is one of the best in the world at Padel; a sport that’s seen rapid growth around the world, but particularly in Europe. He turns 30 in January, 2025.

Chincoa was the first Spaniard to win the WPT, helping to dilute Argentina’s multi-decade dominance in the game.

Also known as El Lobo on the circuit, he’s considered by rivals as one of the Tour’s fiercest to go up against; more on the emotional side of the spectrum on the court — a trait that works stylistically in his favour more often than not.

From La Isleta, Padel Lebron stood out as a gifted athlete from a young age, winning the Spanish Junior Championship several times, becoming the country’s youngest national champion and subsequently burst onto the Tour scene.

Ranking

The Spaniard is (currently) one half of the second-ranked pair in the world according to the International Padel Federation. At the end of 2023, he was also ranked sixth in the World Padel Tour‘s individual ranking system.

In a competitive contingent, Padel Lebron and Alejandro Galan claimed four tournaments during 2023, plus reached the pointy end in others too. Despite finishing the year five spots down from world number one, he’s still right in the sweet spot, so to speak.

He was ranked No. 1 (on the WPT ranking) four consecutive years, blitzing the field with Galan.

Previously, Juan’s partner was Paquito Navarro. The pair won a handful of tournaments and rose to the top of the world rankings.

Padel Lebron has been to the summit and there’s every chance he’ll be back there at some point.

Endorsement

Red Bull doesn’t hand out sponsorships lightly; such is the case with Juan Lebrón Chincoa.

What is Padel?

Padel is a combination of tennis, squash and pickleball, that’s of course gained mass popularity recently as well. The sport mimics tennis in its play style, ball and scoring system. However, it is played on a smaller court that features glass walls around the back and side of the court that are used for ball rebound — not unlike squash.

While the ball is similar to tennis, the game – obviously – uses a paddle with a shorter handle and no strings, rather than a racquet.

While pickleball is played on a badminton-sized court, padel is played on a “pitch” that is encased by glass walls — not unlike a squash court. While padel has the same scoring system as tennis, pickleball is completely different.

If you’re interested in playing in Australia, either recreationally or professionally, you can visit the Padel Australia website to find a club, make your own, or join a tournament.

The Messi of Padel

There’s a fair bit of symmetry between football legend Lionel Messi and basketball equivalent LeBron James — they’re both firmly in their sport’s respective GOAT conversations.

The Inter Miami star also happens to be a huge padel guy; he loves the sport so much, in fact, that he had a pitch installed in his home in Barcelona. David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Dwayne Wade are also on the padel side of the fence.

Phil Prior
Phil Prior
Phil is the editorial lead at Only Sports, bringing more than 12 years of wide-ranging sports media experience to the team. But it’s his unrivalled passion that sets him apart. He also commentates AFL on SEN Radio, plus Rugby on Stan Sport. Find Phil on LinkedIn.

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