Every time you watch LeBron James play, you are witnessing history. He is one of the greatest basketball players of this generation, and it is hard to imagine a league without him. But throughout his life, he has faced overwhelming adversity. Overcoming his rough upbringing, proving his critics wrong, and fulfilling his promise.
LeBron James strives for greatness. The story starts on December 30th, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. LeBron’s mother, Gloria, was only 16, and not financially prepared to have a child. His father was an ex-convict; He wanted nothing to do with Gloria and LeBron. “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.” Gloria worked anywhere and everywhere to make ends meet, and although she did her best to shield LeBron from poverty and violence, there was never any stability in their lives. They moved from places to place, a dozen times in three years. By the time LeBron was in the fourth grade, he spent nearly two-thirds of his life without a home. Constantly sleeping in a car with his mom, LeBron would be left to supervise himself.
Most of the time, he chose not to go to school and basically lived on food stamps. Until one day, a man named Bruce Kelker was driving through the streets of Akron, scouting new players for his rec football team. He noticed a young LeBron playing tag with his friends. He asked them if they liked football. “That’s my favorite sport.” Kelker asked the kids to line up for a 100-yard race. The winner would be the teams running back.
And the results? James won by over fifteen yards! While Kelker discussed practice locations and times, Gloria confessed that she could not afford any of the equipment, and had no way of getting LeBron to practice. Bruce told her not to worry, and that he would take care of everything. He even offered to pick him up for practices and games Kelker recognized James’ insane talent at such a young age. After a few months of constantly picking up LeBron, Bruce grew tired of finding out LeBron had moved once again, so he offered for them to live with him and his girlfriend.
As time passed, it was obvious that LeBron was the best player on the field at all times. And it did not take long for others to notice Lebron’s talent either. When he was 9 years old, he scored nineteen touchdowns in his first six games. Parents demanded to see James’ birth certificate because he was bigger, faster, and stronger than all of the other kids. When he found out about the other parents, he would duck his head and bend his knees, to appear shorter. Soon after, Kelker told him to “stand tall and proud.
” This motivated LeBron. Eventually, Bruce’s girlfriend grew tired of having four people live in their apartment. James and Gloria were back to living on their own once again. A few months passed by, and LeBron had basically dropped out of fourth grade. He barely attended class anymore. “He’d often stay inside and eat from the same cereal box for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
” (Jenkins). “I missed 82 days of school because I couldn’t get across town.” Kelker confronted Gloria, and suggested that LeBron should move in with someone else. Gloria agreed, and knew he needed a more stable environment. Bruce’s friend, Frankie Walker, offered to let LeBron move in with him, his wife, and his three kids. James shared a room with his son, Frankie Jr.
, who heavily influenced LeBron into playing basketball. Walker made him play one-on-one against Frankie Jr., and he lost 21-7.
Even though he lost, Walker was determined to help James’ improve. By the fifth grade, LeBron was a beast; nobody could stop him. LeBron and his friends were becoming very well known around Akron.
They finally made the national scene when they qualified for the Sixth Grade and Under National AAU Championship.