Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesDuring his NBA Finals MVP speech last night, 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, he said in his book.
He told 60 Minutes about that period, "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, he told Matt McMillen of WebMD Magazine in 2010.
In that same WebMD interview, 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, telling 60 Minutes:
"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.
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