It’s obvious that Miami Heat’s star athlete is a momma’s boy at heart. For journalist Maria Shriver’s new #DoingItAll series, which focuses on assisting women in defeating obstacles as described in her published book, The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, she tapped LeBron James, who wrote a touching letter to his mother, Gloria, highlighting her contributions to his early basketball career.
Here’s a snippet of King James’ love note:
I am honored to participate in a project that is trying to help single mothers who are struggling to make a living and raise their kids, because that perfectly describes my mother when I was growing up. You think LeBron James is a champion? Gloria James is a champion too. She’s my champion.
My mother really struggled. She had me, her only child, when she was just 16 years old. She was on her own, so we lived in her mom’s great big house in Akron, Ohio. But on Christmas Day when I was 3 years old, my grandmother suddenly died of a heart attack, and everything changed. With my mom being so young and lacking any support and the skills and education necessary to get ahead, it was really hard for us.
We lost the house. We moved around from place to place—a dozen times in three years. It was scary. It was catch as catch can, scraping to get by. My mom worked anywhere and everywhere, trying to make ends meet. But through all of that, I knew one thing for sure: I had my mother to blanket me and to give me security. She was my mother, my father, my everything. She put me first. I knew that no matter what happened, nothing and nobody was more important to her than I was. I went without a lot of things, but never for one second did I feel unimportant or unloved.
Finally, when I was 9 years old, my mother made a supreme sacrifice. She decided that while she was figuring out how to get on her feet, I needed some stability in my life. I needed to stay in one place and experience the support and security that she had felt growing up in a big family. So she sent me to live with my pee-wee football team coach, “Big Frankie” Walker, and his family. She later said to me, “It was hard, but I knew it was not about me. It was about you. I had to put you first.”
I stayed with the Walkers for a year, and what a gift that was! I was in the same school all year, slept in the same bed all year, played on the same football team all year, and Big Frankie put me on my first basketball team. I saw my mom every weekend.
When my mother was able to rent a two-bedroom apartment with the help of a government-assistance program, I moved back in with her. We stayed together until I finished high school. The rest is history.
Read the rest of the heartfelt letter here.
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