Gloria James, the mother of NBA superstar LeBron James, is a constant presence in his life despite the fact that she brought him up on her own.
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Gloria James, the mother of NBA superstar LeBron James, has a tattoo on her arm that reads “Queen James,” and she takes great pride in the moniker “Mother of the King.”
However, in terms of her demeanor outside of the context of being the mother of an NBA legend, she maintains her modesty.
“I’m very simple and down to earth,” Gloria remarked during a question and answer session with pupils from LeBron’s I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. “Therefore, in the event that you ever find yourself in need of a shoulder to weep on, an ear to speak into, a hug, or anything else. We are one large and joyful family.”
Gloria, who raised LeBron as a single parent, is still a significant part of both his professional and personal life, and she frequently supports him at various events and games. The NBA player gives all of his success to her, saying that she is the reason he is where he is today.
“I don’t know if she read about it or she just heard about it,” LeBron James said in an interview with Maria Shriver for Today in 2014. “But from day one, I always had that mother and father inside my mother, so I never was a kid that was kind of like, ‘Where is my father?’ “
He went on to say that “She gave me strength to the point where there was never even a need for me to think about that, and I have no idea where she got it from.” To this very day, I still don’t even bother to ask her, but there’s no question that she’s the winner.
Learn more about Gloria James, a champion in her own right and the mother of LeBron James.
She had LeBron when she was 16 and raised him alone
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On February 4, 1968, Gloria Marie James was born in Akron, Ohio. She is the sister of Curt James and Terry James, both of whom are brothers.
According to an article published in Sports Illustrated, she gave birth to LeBron when she was just 16 years old, and LeBron has never had a relationship with his biological father. According to an essay that LeBron James wrote for Today in 2014, he recalled that Gloria received some assistance in the early stages of raising LeBron from her own mother, LeBron’s grandmother Freda James Howard.
Unfortunately, Howard passed away on Christmas Day in 1987, when LeBron was only three years old. After that, Gloria was mainly on her own; she and her two brothers struggled to make ends meet as she took care of their son.
Moving seven times by the time LeBron was 5 years old was not an easy task for LeBron and Gloria, his parents. As a result of Gloria and her brothers’ inability to pay their heating bill, LeBron missed 82 days of school while he was in the fourth grade and was briefly placed with a foster home. During that time, he was bullied by other students.
“Just how much responsibility that comes with being a single mom every single day, you don’t have that other half or that helping male influence in the house that can — especially in my case, being a son — that can give you that fatherly love or that fatherly guidance,’” LeBron explained to Shriver. “My mother figured [that] out.”
She didn’t push LeBron to become an NBA star
According to ESPN, Gloria has always been LeBron’s biggest booster, but she never pressured him to become a famous athlete. His young football coach once remembers her racing up and down the sidelines with glee after he made a touchdown.
Gloria was said to as “an enthusiastic fan” of her son LeBron in an article that was published in the New York Times in 2001. At the time, LeBron was a 16-year-old junior in high school in Akron, Ohio. She expressed to the publication that she was proud of her son’s accomplishments but that she would not put any pressure on LeBron to become a superstar in the NBA.
“All I want for LeBron is for him to be happy,” I told him. “He is a huge basketball fan,” she stated. “But at the very least, I hope that he will be able to graduate with the rest of his high school class. However, a choice will be made when the appropriate time arrives.”
She went on to say that LeBron had impeccable manners and was always polite, and she said, “He’s a level-headed boy.” He has never caused me even the slightest bit of trouble.
An SUV she gifted LeBron came under scrutiny
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In December 2002, on LeBron’s 18th birthday, Gloria surprised him by buying him a Hummer outfitted with many televisions and computer gaming hookups. According to the New York Times, the acquisition caused suspicion because LeBron and Gloria were living in Akron’s public housing at the time of the transaction. This led to the investigation.
High school athletes in Ohio could be stripped of their “amateur” status if they are found to have “capitalized on athletic fame by receiving money or gifts of monetary value,” as stated in the bylaws of the Ohio High School sports Association (OHSAA). It is possible that LeBron would have been required to give up his amateur eligibility had it been discovered that Gloria gave LeBron the Hummer for any reason other than a genuine gift, despite the fact that Gloria claimed to have financed the Hummer through a $50,000 auto loan. Despite the fact that LeBron was exonerated by the commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association following a two-week inquiry, Gloria did not make any comments at the time regarding the gift of the SUV.
She helps run the LeBron James Family Foundation
Gloria is vice president of the LeBron James Family Foundation, which focuses on providing resources to children in need in the Akron, Ohio, area, where LeBron grew up. One of the foundation’s crowning achievements has been the I Promise School, a public school in Akron for at-risk children. LeBron credits Gloria with the I Promise School’s entire existence thanks to how hard she worked to give him a good life when they were struggling.
“Without my mother, and the way she raised me, there is no school,” LeBron said in a Family Foundation video dedicated to Gloria in April 2020. “There is no IPS without Gloria James. She gave me the tools. She gave me the blueprint. She gave me the life skills, so when it was time for me to put something like this together, along with our team, I just went back to everything that my mom taught me.”
She’s a grandmother
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Lebron and his wife, Savannah James, started a family of their own, making Gloria a grandmother to their three children: LeBron “Bronny” James Jr., Bryce Maximus and Zhuri Nova.
Gloria is very close with her grandchildren and often shares photos on Instagram of her spending time with them. She attends Bronny and Bryce’s basketball games and frequently posts tributes celebrating their accomplishments.
“I cherish every moment of watching my grand boys grow into young men on and off the court. I’m so proud and I love you both very much @bronny @_justbryce!! ️,” she wrote in an April 2022 post, which featured photos of her posing with her grandsons at their tournaments.
She and Zhuri have also shared plenty of sweet moments through the years, including trips to Universal Studios and Disneyland.
LeBron missed her most during quarantine
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In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, LeBron’s biggest struggle was being away from Gloria while social distancing. “It’s the first time in my life that I went that long without seeing my mom,” LeBron said in a July 2020 press conference, adding that being with Gloria was “the only thing that [he] really missed.”
“I hadn’t seen my mom since All-Star weekend and then I saw her two weeks or three weeks before we had to report to our respective cities,” he explained. “That was extreme for me.”
LeBron said that Gloria’s positive attitude helped him through the quarantine portion of the pandemic, adding that she assured him they’d reunite “in due time.”
She was the first person LeBron called after winning the 2020 NBA Championships
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When LeBron and the Lakers won the NBA Championships in October 2020 (his fourth title), he immediately FaceTimed Gloria to celebrate.
A video that surfaced on Twitter shows LeBron sitting on the floor telling Gloria, “Everything that you have been through, everything that I’ve seen, it’s nothing that can stop me, ’cause this s— right here, this is nothing compared to the s— you had to go through,” he said. “God is good, God is great. I hope I continue to make you proud mom.”