LeBron James, of Cleveland Cavaliers superstardom, has long been a fan favorite in the running for being regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He rose to prominence in the Cleveland Cavaliers, Ohio’s team, but where did he grow up?
LeBron James grew up in Akron, one of the largest cities in the state of Ohio. He would spend the entirety of his childhood and young adult life here, gaining notoriety as a rising star in the world of basketball.
LeBron James spent the entirety of his formative years in Akron in the state of Ohio. As he grew up, LeBron James would enjoy an unprecedented amount of fame in his home state, after he was introduced to basketball and discovered to have a natural talent for the sport.
Living in rough neighborhoods with a young single mother as the only parent, LeBron James had a difficult upbringing. By his own account, his mother Gloria did her best to protect her son and provide for her family, but life was a constant hardship. Gloria often struggled to find gainful employment due to their circumstances, often forcing the young family to move around whilst still living in the poorer parts of Akron, under the yoke of potential poverty and street violence.
Life would eventually offer LeBron James a lifeline out of his turbulent living situation. This lifeline would take the form of football coach Bruce Kelker. Even before his eventual basketball fame, LeBron would show himself to be an outstanding potential athlete as he was given an opportunity to try out for a local youth football team.
His performance was so outstanding to Kelker, that not only did he immediately offer LeBron a spot on his team, he was so desperate to enlist the young athlete that he would agree to bring the boy to practice and cover all of his equipment costs, seeing as LeBron’s mother Gloria was not in a position to do so herself.
Seeking to give the boy even more stability in his life and hopefully allow him to more reliably be able to attend the games, Kelker invited LeBron to live with him. Gloria would express some doubts about this living arrangement, not wishing to part with her son, to somebody who was more or less a complete stranger. In order to assuage her understandable concerns, Kelker offered to allow them both to live with him.
Growing Up With Basketball
Although he was always a fan of the sport, fortune would work some magic when LeBron’s next blessing would arrive. Due to having to move out of Kelker’s house, Gloria and her son were once again running into the instability of having nowhere to reliably call home. In response to this situation, another local coach, Frank Walker would agree to give LeBron a place to stay, somewhere stable that he could be kept away from the hardships of the drifting lifestyle that circumstance had cruelly forced upon him and his mother. LeBron still remembers how extreme a situation it was to be living in, commenting to his mother, “I still don’t know how you did it.” A feeling of pride that she would appear to reciprocate.
It was around this time, growing up in Walker’s household in Ohio, that LeBron would discover his innate talent for basketball, the success it could bring him and a group of friends that he would later navigate the rest of highschool alongside. This group of friends would join him at St. Vincent – St. Mary High School, where LeBron would enjoy a rapid and spectacular rise to prominence in the basketball world. As he continued to play and grow up, he would accrue a selection of noteworthy awards, being regarded as perhaps one of the greatest high school players of all time.
Love for his Home State Ohio
Aside from going on to join Ohio’s Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron clearly has a lot of love for his home state that he grew up in. Instead of going to college, LeBron opted to instead go immediately to the NBA after his highschool years were over. He has, however, commented that if he would have gone to college, he would have opted to go to Ohio State, a college that would have been just a few hours from his childhood home of Akron.