During his NBA Finals MVP speech in 2013, LeBron James said, “I’m LeBron James. From Akron, Ohio. From the inner city. I am not even supposed to be here.”
The comments made some eyes roll. But it couldn’t be more true.
Considering the dire circumstances into which he was born, his success story should be an inspiration to every single American.
LeBron’s mother, Gloria James, was 16 years old when she had LeBron. He never met his father, Michael Wise of the Washington Post reports. They grew up in poverty, and when LeBron’s grandmother died when he was 5, the city condemned their house.
Between ages 5 and 8, LeBron moved 12 times.
“We had pressures as far as where the hell we gonna sleep at. You know, from night, day to day, night to night. How we gonna eat from day to day, night to night?”
LeBron missed 100 days of school in fourth grade because he didn’t have the transportation to get there.
LeBron credited his mom with keeping him out of trouble:
“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.'”
LeBron finally found a stable home environment when his mom sent him to live with his basketball coach at age 9.
He realized he could use basketball to escape his circumstances at a young age:
“That’s one thing Coach Dru, my high school coach, and my AAU coach, a father figure to me, he always said. He said, ‘Use basketball as a vehicle to get to where you want to go.’ And I didn’t know what that meant. You know, but now that I look back on it, I was like, ‘Wow, you know, we didn’t let the game of basketball use us, we used it.'”
LeBron is one of the most important people in sports, and he came from absolutely nothing.
Born on December 30, 1984 in Akron, Ohio, USA, LeBron James is a professional basketball player with the NBA and an Olympic athlete. Wisely considered to be the most talented basketball player in the world, the 6-8, 250-lb James is a specimen to behold. Not only does his size and strength impress, but his athletic ability, along with his extremely high b-ball IQ, make him a true freak of nature.
After the “Dream Teams” of the 1990s, the USA lost its edge and ultimately its basketball dominance. Other teams from around the world started to emerge, and the United States’ athletes, more concerned with money and endorsement deals than Olympic Gold, were on the backburner. This all changed in 2008, when a LeBron-led USA squad dominated the field in Beijing. Team USA hope to repeat as Olympic champions this summer.
Sporting Career of Lebron James
The story of LeBron James takes a different trajectory than most other Olympians. With sports like basketball and football, the athletes on their respective nations’ teams hold down pro careers in leagues and do not compete regularly in championship circuits like swimmers or archers. But in terms of strict basketball, James has been the “king” of the court since his days in high school with St. Vincent-St. Mary’s.
In his freshman year, James was already better than every senior in the nation. He and his team started to create a nationwide buzz, and after leading his high school team to multiple titles and earning honors as the Gatorade National Player of the Year, James was a shoo-in to forego the collegiate ranks and jump straight into the NBA – the league where every professional basketball player in the world wants to end up.
In 2003, coming out of high school, it was a foregone conclusion that whichever team had the 1st pick in the Draft would take James, and the 1st pick just so happened to belong to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. James was an immediate success, revamping the entire organization. In his time with the team, the Cavs were perennial contenders, making it to the Finals, the Playoffs multiple years, and finishing with the league’s best record in 2010.
Then came the controversy. In 2010, after not winning the championship in Cleveland, James made enemies out of a once adoring nation when he held a press conference to announce that he was leaving the Cavs to join his friend and fellow Olympic teammate Dwayne Wade in Miami (Heat).
Just two years previous, James had played on the US Men’s Basketball team that won Olympic Gold, alongside Wade and other eventual teammate Chris Bosh. The men dominated the competition, and they talked then about one day teaming up in the NBA.
Although the 2012 USA Men’s National team hasn’t been selected yet, it has been whittled down to 20 players, amongst whom LeBron James stands out as a surefire bet to compete in 2012. And judging from 2008’s team, this year’s team will only be better.
Lebron James Career Highlights
2004 Rookie of the Year
NBA All Star – 8x (2005/12)
All-NBA First Team – 5x (06, 08-11)
NBA Scoring Champion (2008)
NBA MVP – 2x (2009, 2010)
2008 Olympic Games – Gold
2012 Summer Olympics – Gold
Lebron James is the face of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise. Not only is Lebron an all star athlete, he’s an extremely savvy businessman and philanthropist. Despite the lime light that Lebron is constantly casted in, he never forgets the less fortunate people in the world. Through the Lebron James Family Foundation, Lebron has developed many initiatives that help families and children who are in need. The mission behind the foundation is to positively affect the lives of children and young adults through education and co-curricular education initiatives. The organization believes that an education and living an active, healthy lifestyle is pivotal to the development of children and young adults.
Initiatives housed under the Lebron James Family Foundation are St. Vincent – St. Mary High School, Wheels for Education, The Lebron Advisory Board, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America. In addition, Lebron has partnered with well-known brands to expand his philanthropic efforts. These partners include: Audemars Piguet, Beats By Dre, BSN Sports, Cleveland Cavaliers, Coke, Nike, Upper Deck, Samsung Mobile USA, SEBCO Books, Akron Public Schools and Akron After School, WKYC, The University of Akron, and JPMorgan Chase and Company.
Lebron is involved within all facets and is using his fame to better the world. The great thing about Lebron is that he’s very faithful to his hometown in Ohio. He’s aware of his upbringing and remains humble despite the success. Growing up, life was often a struggle for Lebron and his family. They moved from apartment to apartment within the Akron neighborhoods while James’ mother struggled to find steady work. In 2015, Lebron announced the new partnership with the University of Akron which will provide scholarships for 2,300 children beginning in 2021. Also, each year he hosts an annual bike-a-thon in Akron to raise money for various causes.
James is considered by many in the league and fans worldwide to be the “face of the NBA.” Behind the athlete lies a great deal of leadership and an overall ability and desire to make a difference. Lebron understands that the future is within today’s youth. The key to a strong foundation is within the young people today therefore, it’s imperative that those children receive a great education, home life and are presented with opportunities that will peek interests and spark careers.
Lebron’s generosity and intuitive way of thinking will influence others to be great and give back to society. Through his various foundations and success, Lebron has helped to uplift the world with his valiant efforts of unifying the world and giving hope to others who would have been left hopeless.