Due to his frequent absence and failure to provide child support, James’ father, Anthony McClelland, was not a significant presence in his life.
Gloria James, also known as the “Mother of the King” for being the mother of NBA superstar LeBron James, proudly wears a tattoo on her arm that reads “Queen James”. Despite her son’s success, she remains humble and down-to-earth. During a Q&A at LeBron’s I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, Gloria shared that she is always there to listen, talk, hug or support anyone who needs it as they are all one big family.
LeBron James, the NBA sensation, has credited his single mother Gloria for playing a crucial role in his life. He believes that her contributions have been significant to both his personal and professional success. In an interview with Maria Shriver of Today in 2014, he shared that his mother had always been there for him and never once did he feel like he was missing out on having a father figure. He mentioned how his mother had taken on both the roles of a mother and a father, which helped shape him into becoming the person he is today.
He marveled at her strength and resilience when she spoke those words to him. Gloria James, the mother of basketball superstar LeBron, is an inspiring athlete in her own right. She became a mother at just 16 years old, giving birth to LeBron on February 4, 1968, in Akron, Ohio. Gloria has two brothers, Terry and Curt James. According to Sports Illustrated, LeBron has never met his biological father. When he was young, Gloria raised him with the help of her mother, Freda James Howard.
Tragically, Freda passed away on Christmas Day in 1987 when LeBron was only three. After this, Gloria took on the responsibility of raising her son mostly by herself. It wasn’t easy; the family moved seven times before LeBron turned five. To make ends meet, Gloria and her brothers had to make sacrifices, including not being able to heat the house during winter. This resulted in LeBron missing 82 days of school when he was in fourth grade and having to live with a foster family.
LeBron acknowledges the challenges his mother faced as a single parent, especially not having a male influence in the house. She had to provide for him emotionally and financially all by herself. Despite these challenges, Gloria showed incredible resilience and strength, inspiring her son to become the man he is today.
ESPN reports that LeBron James’ football coach remembers Gloria James cheering ecstatically from the sidelines every time he scored a touchdown, but she never pressured him to become a professional athlete. According to a 2001 profile of LeBron by The New York Times, Gloria was described as “an enthusiastic fan” who didn’t want to push her son to become an NBA superstar. She simply wanted him to be happy and finish high school with his peers. Gloria gifted LeBron with a Hummer for his 18th birthday, which caused controversy because he and Gloria had previously lived in public housing. However, LeBron was later exonerated after an investigation, and Gloria went on to become Vice President of the LeBron James Family Foundation. The Foundation focuses on helping disadvantaged children in Akron, Ohio, where LeBron grew up. Gloria is a doting grandmother to LeBron’s three children and is very close to them. During the COVID-19 pandemic, LeBron missed Gloria the most and said that her positive outlook helped him through the quarantine period. After winning his fourth NBA championship in 2020, LeBron’s first call was to his mother, telling her that he will do his best to keep her proud.