While politicians and the media continue to beat up on single mothers, LeBron James recently wrote a letter of appreciation to his mother Gloria, and America’s single mothers.

James’ letter was published in The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, a “multi-platform nonprofit media initiative” that highlights issues American women face today. The report also includes essays from Beyonce, PolicyLink president Angela Glover Blackwell, Center for Youth Wellness founder Dr. Nadine Burke Harris, Tony Porter of A Call to Men, Almeta R. Keys, Executive Director of the Edward C. Mazique Parent Child Center, Inc, and several others.

In his essay, James recalls his mother’s struggles to raise him amid insecure financial circumstances and homelessness. The NBA star admits that he is completely “devoted” to his mother, who had him at just 16-years-old, because she was devoted to him “every minute of [his] life,” and credits her for teaching him about being a dedicated and loving parent.

Read LeBron James’ letter, “America’s Working Single Mothers: An Appreciation:”

I am honored to participate in a project that is trying to help single mothers who are struggling to make a living and raise their kids, because that perfectly describes my mother when I was growing up. You think LeBron James is a champion? Gloria James is a champion too. She’s my champion.

My mother really struggled. She had me, her only child, when she was just 16 years old. She was on her own, so we lived in her mom’s great big house in Akron, Ohio. But on Christmas Day when I was 3 years old, my grandmother suddenly died of a heart attack, and everything changed. With my mom being so young and lacking any support and the skills and education necessary to get ahead, it was really hard for us.

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.

Finally, when I was 9 years old, my mother made a supreme sacrifice. She decided that while she was figuring out how to get on her feet, I needed some stability in my life. I needed to stay in one place and experience the support and security that she had felt growing up in a big family. So she sent me to live with my pee-wee football team coach, “Big Frankie” Walker, and his family. She later said to me, “It was hard, but I knew it was not about me. It was about you. I had to put you first.”

I stayed with the Walkers for a year, and what a gift that was! I was in the same school all year, slept in the same bed all year, played on the same football team all year, and Big Frankie put me on my first basketball team. I saw my mom every weekend.

When my mother was able to rent a two-bedroom apartment with the help of a government-assistance program, I moved back in with her. We stayed together until I finished high school. The rest is history.

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.

After the Heat won the 2012 NBA Championship, the team was invited to the White House. Speaking about me, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh, President Barack Obama said, “For all the young men out there who are looking up to them all the time, for them to see somebody who cares about their kids and is there for them day in and day out, that’s a good message to send. It’s a positive message to send, and we’re very proud of them for that.1”

The truth is that everything I’ve learned about being a parent to my boys—9-year-old LeBron Jr. and 6-year-old Bryce—I learned from my mother. Everything I know about being loving and caring, and sacrificing and showing up and being present in my children’s lives—I learned all of that from her example.

Gloria James was a working single mother who struggled and got the job done.

And for that, I say, “I love you, Mom. Thank you.”

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  • Ivory

    We have Lebron James vs. cursing toddler.

  • ArabellaMichaela

    What I find interesting is how few (or none) of the black men who are frequent commenters on Clutch, saw fit to comment on this article. Hmmm.

    • Dream Job

      @ArabellaMichaela, quit being typical, with your fists balled up, [slyly…”I’m wondering”…girl pleeease] scanning all the comments, looking for brothas to attack. Black men have enough forces trying to do them in and we need to be more sensitive to their plight. Women of other nationalities are often not as abrasive with our brothas as we are. We need to learn from that! And, girl, I don’t know if anybody’s told you but, uh, single parent households in our communities is a community issue, NOT a Black man’s issue. So stop it. And with our wannabe white girl, lazy a** hair-hat tranny-lookin’ wigs and weaves, stank attitudes, overweight appearance, self-hate and our lack of sensitivity towards YT’s greatest fear and target (the black man)…no wonder brothas are leaving many of us in droves for other women. Sorry to slap your wrist, but our brothas are victims in this thang too. Sometimes we gotta give them a break in order to to heal. So, while you lookin’ for brothas’ comments, what you gon’ do to heal this situation? Exactly, just what YT wants/needs you to do, nothin’ but pick on brothas. BYE!

    • Right

      @Dream job

      Don’t even bother. Her comments say it all. Some people just have issues and are hurting from a lack of attention.

  • Pete

    @ArabellaMichaela – The answer to your question is obvious. Black men who follow basketball are all too familiar with Lebron’s family story, and central to that, that he was born to a teenage mother, and her vast struggles to raise him. LeBron has spent his whole public career praising his mother. So why would black men need to comment on this story. Hmmmm.

  • Dream Job

    Single parent households are NOT ideal and LeBron got lucky that he had a basketball and other sports’ balls to take his frustrations out on. Most people in his situation don’t have outlets and focus. We need stronger families, more unified communities, knowledge of self and self-love, and DADDIES IN THE HOUSEHOLD. Pumping up single parent situations ain’t smart.

    He said: “Gloria James was a working single mother who struggled and got the job done.

    “And for that, I say, ‘I love you, Mom. Thank you.’”

    When he says “and got the job done…and for that…” he is seemingly expressing his happiness to have made it big. “and for [that]…” That = success. But what if he hadn’t made it big on the court or field? We he still have this “love” for his struggling momma? Hmmmmmmm. Could he have done it without sports? Would he have excelled without sports? Hmmmmm. Plus, he seems to have done all the work to move their family to a higher station in life. His momma just came along for the ride…and slept with a teammate at that. God bless LeBron for playing with a ball well. My point: championship success or not, single parent households are not cool, especially for oppressed people like Blacks. We have to do better. That’s the “job” we need to get done: stepping it up as parents and as a committed community who doesn’t have to rely on success in the arenas of sports and rapping in order to feel whole.