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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.

Inside the Basketball Player's Mind continued...

Keep your cool. Star athletes "learn how to take criticism, to work with their team," says Murphy.

Love your job. "My main message with the [families] I work with is, emphasize the fun, the enjoyment," Murphy says. "[Top athletes] don't get where they are without loving what they are doing."

Use your brain. "Good athletes develop critical thinking skills," says Murphy. "They can look at a situation and analyze it from more than one angle."

Lean on your family. "It's amazing how important family support is for success," says Murphy, citing a study of Olympic athletes. "It's a huge, almost universal, factor."

Talk things out. "It's a big mistake to think you can handle the pressures on your own," says Murphy. "Talking with your family, your spouse, your teammates is hugely important. Keeping things to yourself can work very negatively on your performance."

How LeBrons Gives Back

Basketball success has allowed James to do a lot more than score points. It has enabled him to give back to the community in which he grew up. He was still a teenager when he founded the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004, which is dedicated to helping kids and single-parent households navigate their way through school, getting and staying fit, and living healthy lives despite the hardships they face.

Over the last three years, the foundation has raised more than a half million dollars for the Akron Urban League and the Akron YMCA. That money has also helped pay for the King for Kids Bike-a-Thon, held each summer in Akron for the past five years, as well as Playground Build, an initiative to provide playgrounds to urban areas across the country. The first was built in New Orleans, on the site of a recreation center destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. The next was constructed in Phoenix in 2009. Earlier this year, James and State Farm, the corporate partner of both the playground program and the bike-a-thon, dedicated a third playground, in Dallas.

Since 2006, James has hosted the King's Academy Summer Basketball Camp for boys and girls ages 7 to 17. This year's camp, which costs nearly $700 for overnight campers, will be held on the campus of the University of California, San Diego. While James and the other instructors coach the kids on their lay ups, shooting drills, and other basketball skills, James says he wants the 600 or so kids who attend each year to learn much more than on-court skills.

"For me, the goal was to have a camp where kids could learn teamwork, learn to be unselfish on the court and off," says James. "Yes, we'll teach them to make a good jump shot, but they need to learn that the important thing is school."

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