Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

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 James and the Shooting Stars continued...

The boys and their coach stayed together through high school at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary, where James and company became known as the Fab Four (later the Fab Five, with the addition of Romeo Travis). The story of that team, of that family, is told in the 2009 documentary More Than a Game. Here's a sampling of James' high school achievements: He led his team to the state championship in three of the four seasons he played. The Associated Press named him "Mr. Basketball" for the state of Ohio every year but his freshman year. When he was a junior, Sports Illustrated featured him on the cover, dubbing him "The Chosen One."

That was all before he graduated.

LeBrons Joins the Cavaliers

In 2003, when James was 18, he was the Cleveland Cavaliers' first pick in the NBA draft. Nike signed him to a $90 million contract before he played his first professional game. In his first season, he became the youngest player in NBA history to score 40 or more points in a single game. He was named "Rookie of the Year," the youngest player ever to receive that honor. And he was the youngest player to score 10,000 career points, a milestone he reached in the season before he flew to Beijing to represent this country on the 2008 U.S. Olympic basketball team. He has scored plenty more points since then.

Gloria James laughs when she ponders where her son got the hoops gene. She grew up in a sports-loving family, and she recalls sitting on her grandfather's lap as a little girl, watching … baseball. The Cleveland Indians were her team. "He picked up basketball on his own," she says. "I can't take credit for that one."

When he was 3 years old, she gave him a toy basketball set for Christmas. She watched him slam the ball into the plastic hoop, but she had no inkling what the future held.

"I am not going to say I knew he was going to be a superstar," she says. "But you could tell he was fully determined. He wouldn't play with that toy set unless [the basketball hoop] was on the highest setting."

Inside the Basketball Player's Mind

As it turns out, determination and family support are key to athletic success. Because of that, athletes at the top of their game are often more emotionally healthy than the rest of us -- despite their pressure-cooker lives, says Shane Murphy, an associate professor at Western Connecticut State University, former sports psychologist for the U.S. Olympic Committee, and author of The Sport Psych Handbook: A Complete Guide to Today's Best Mental Training Techniques.

What do they do to stay sane, and what can parents of budding superstars learn from them?

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow