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