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LeBron James Writes Heartfelt Tribute to His Mother

NEW YORK - APRIL 20:  Lebron James and his mother Gloria arrive on the red carpet for the Destination Finals Playoff Viewing Party at the NBA Store on April 20, 2004 in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
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David MurphyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2014

LeBron James is best known for his many accomplishments on the basketball court. Recently, the Miami Heat superstar showed a different side when he penned a moving tribute to his mother.

Gloria James was just 16 years old when she had her first and only child. In an essay for the Shriver Report, LeBron writes about the unconditional love and devotion of a single mom. The multi-platform media initiative was founded by Maria Shriver and explores America’s relationship with women.

As part of a series aimed at helping women overcome challenges, James chronicles those faced by his own mom.

On Christmas Day, 1987, LeBron’s maternal grandmother died of a sudden heart attack. James was less than a week from his third birthday. Before long, mother and child were on the move, unable to afford the upkeep on a rambling old house. In an excerpt presented by, James tells what happened next:

We lost the house. We moved around from place to place—a dozen times in three years. It was scary. It was catch as catch can, scraping to get by. My mom worked anywhere and everywhere, trying to make ends meet. But through all of that, I knew one thing for sure: I had my mother to blanket me and to give me security. She was my mother, my father, my everything. She put me first. I knew that no matter what happened, nothing and nobody was more important to her than I was. I went without a lot of things, but never for one second did I feel unimportant or unloved.

Further along in the essay, James describes the lessons learned and the effort to pay them forward:

People always say I am devoted to my mother. That’s true, but only because for every minute of my life, she has been devoted to me. My mother taught me what devotion truly means. I have tried to pass along her example by helping kids who are growing up in single-parent homes through the LeBron James Family Foundation and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

A journalist, author and the former First Lady of California, Shriver will be meeting with President Obama on Tuesday to discuss the challenges faced by women in this country.

Shriver is currently a special anchor and correspondent for NBC Television. Her newest study is entitled A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back From the Brink and has been released in partnership with the Center for American Progress.

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