LeBron James Pays Homage to the Mothers in His Life
The NBA superstar credits his mother and his girlfriend for making him both the athlete and the family man he is today.
LeBron's Childhood continued...
Eventually, the city condemned the house. Then they bulldozed it. James was
For the next three years, James and his mother moved 12 times. He shuffled
from school to school, where friendships began and ended every few months. In
the fourth grade, he missed nearly a hundred days of school because he didn't
have the means to get there. The one constant was his assurance that his mother
was there for him. He writes, "Whatever my mom could do or could not do, I also
knew that nobody was more important in her life than I was. You have no idea
how much that means when you grow up without so many of the basic things you
should have. You have no idea of the security it gives you, how it makes you
think, 'Man, I can get through this. I can survive.'"
Her sacrifice was the foundation for his survival. When he was 9 years old,
Gloria James realized she could not give her son what he needed most -- the
grounding of a family. Along with her two brothers, she had been raised in a
full house, cared for by her mother and grandparents and surrounded by an
extended family of friends and neighbors. It's where she got her own values,
and she wanted the same for her son. That, she came to realize, meant putting
him into someone else's hands.
"It was the hardest decision I'd made in my life," says Gloria, now 42. "But
it was also one of the best. At that time in his life, he needed stability. It
was hard, but I knew it was not about me. It was about him. I had to put him
LeBron James and the Shooting Stars
And so James went to live with Frank and Pam Walker in their three-bedroom
Akron home. At the time, Frank Walker ("Big Frank") was coaching the boy's
peewee football team, the South Rangers. He saw potential in the newly minted
fifth-grader, but more important, he saw need. This was a child who appeared
older than his years, a boy missing out on the joys of childhood. "The Walkers
were also concerned that I was being passed from place to place, that I was a
nomad at the age of 9," James writes in Shooting Stars.