Lebron James is one of those athletes who oftentimes people will either say they love him or hate him. However, if you learn about what he has overcome to reach that level of success, no matter where you stand, it is difficult to not respect him. James was born on December 30, 1984 and raised by a single mother. His mother was only 16 at the time. They moved from one place to another in Akron, Ohio and since his mother could not find steady work, life was truly living day by day. In the 4th grade, he reportedly missed 100 days of school, because of lack of transportation. He struggled so much with his home life that he would not easily make friends. His mother realized that James would be better off living in a more stable family environment and made the difficult decision to allow him to live with a local youth football coach and his family.
Lebron James played both football and basketball until his junior year in high school. He considered sports an escape from the struggles at home and pushed himself to excel. He was named All Ohio his junior year in football; however, after sustaining an injury, he decided to solely focus on basketball. By his senior year, James averaged 31.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 3.4 steals per game, was named Ohio Mr. Basketball, and featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Upon graduating high school in 2003, he was the first pick in the NBA draft. With such early success, anyone would think he was welcomed with open arms. Instead, his first year with the Cleveland Cavaliers was surrounded by teammates who would openly state that he was overrated. Rather than giving in to the negativity, he used it to push himself to work even harder and by the end of the season, he was the first Cavalier to be named NBA Rookie of the Year.
Lebron James has been named one of the world’s most influential athletes. His influence is not just on the court but off the court as well. In 2018, with the collaboration of the Lebron James Family Foundation, the “I Promise School” opened. This is a public elementary school created to help struggling elementary school students stay in school and what he considers to be one of his greatest professional accomplishments. In addition, he has pledged up to $42 million to provide four-year scholarships to eleven hundred underserved students in Akron. No matter what your opinion might be, what should stand out came from a simple statement James made after winning the 2013 NBA Championship, “I’m not even supposed to be here.” This powerful statement about inequity and persistence shows that even a kid from Akron, Ohio can go from homelessness to being considered one of the greatest of all time.
When you feel like the odds are stacked against you, maybe use this as a reminder that you too are capable of great things. Here are some ways to bet on yourself, and not the odds:
- Stop waiting – Don’t wait for the perfect map, sometimes you just have to start, even when you fear failure.
- Don’t set limits – There is always a first. For decades people thought a 4 minute mile was impossible until it was done in 1954. After it was accomplished, that record only stood for 46 days and has now been done over a thousand times. Sometimes, it is our mindset that sets limitations.
- Focus on growth – Look at obstacles as an opportunity to grow.
Betting on yourself is not always easy. It is easy to listen to the naysayers, but if you put in the work, anything is possible. For this weeks #MakeItHappen, whether it is working on your math skills or working on your court skills, put the effort in order to get the results you want. Let us know how your week is going, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or share your story and tag us on social.
Go make it happen,
Luly & the YTeach Team
“The greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”