There are three ladies that LeBron James often talks about as being his favorite people in his life. His mother, Gloria James, who raised LeBron as a 16-year-old single mother. There is LeBron’s high school sweetheart, Savannah (Brinson) James, who became his wife in 2013. Finally, LeBron’s daugther, Zhuri James, is the couple’s youngest of three children.
LeBron may be one of the most recognizable celebrities in the world, but there was a time when Savannah played hard to get. After a friend informed Savannah that LeBron was interested in going on a date, Savannah refused to give him her number.
“I’m like, ‘Um, nope. I’ll take his number,’” Savannah told Cleveland Magazine. “One day I’m sitting around — I was probably bored or something — and I’m like, ‘Oh, I forgot! I have this number for this guy that I can call. He seemed interested, so let’s see.’ ”
The two attended rival Ohio high schools, but they are rivals no longer as the couple looks to leave a lasting legacy through philanthropic work as well as raising a family together.
Learn more about the two most important women in LeBron’s life, Savannah and Gloria.
1. LeBron’s Mother & Wife Were Opposed to Him Returning to Cleveland
When LeBron was first considering a return to Cleveland, his mother and wife were not on board. After LeBron left the Cavaliers to join the Heat, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert published a scathing letter about LeBron. During a barbershop chat published by Bleacher Report, LeBron noted he had to explain why he was willing to consider a return.
“Some people was on the fence,” LeBron explained (via Cleveland.com). “Even my wife was like, I ain’t, my mom and my wife was like I ain’t with that. … I had to finally just be like, you know mom it ain’t even really about [the Gilbert letter]. For me, going back is more of this. It’s more of a bigger picture. It’s more of all these kids, all these people, that need inspiration and need a way to get out. And I believe I am that way out.”
2. Jay-Z & Beyonce Performed at LeBron & Savannah’s Wedding in 2013
LeBron and Savannah were high school sweethearts, and the couple got married in 2013 after years of dating. According to Business Insider, the couple celebrated their nuptials with a three-day extravaganza which included a star-studded guest list including Dwyane Wade and Neyo. Deadspin reported the couple got married at the Grand Del Mar Hotel in San Diego in front of about 200 people.
Very few people are known by a singular name, but LeBron is one of these iconic celebrities. It is fitting that at his wedding celebration, he had two other celebrities perform that are known by just one name, Jay-Z and Beyonce. According to Radar, the couple performed their legendary song “Crazy in Love” for LeBron and Savannah.
LeBron is known for his accolades on the basketball court, but his wife gushes about his dedication to being a husband and father.
“He is truly a king to his queen, if you will,” Savannah explained to Cleveland Magazine. “He treats me with so much respect — I mean, it’s hard to not love him, with the way that he is with me and the kids and his mom and just everyone who’s around him. He’s a really, really humble guy for everything that he has and everything that he’s done.”
3. LeBron Does Not Have a Relationship With His Father, & Gloria Raised Her Son as a Single Mother
LeBron has been public about his lack of a relationship with his father, Anthony McClelland. Gloria raised LeBron as a single mother, and LeBron credits his father’s absence for providing extra motivation for him to succeed. LeBron spoke with GQ about his mindset growing up without a father.
Like, ’Wow, Dad, you know what, I don’t know you, I have no idea who you are, but because of you is part of the reason who I am today.’ The fuel that I use—you not being there—it’s part of the reason I grew up to become who I am. It’s part of the reason why I want to be hands-on with my endeavors. And be able to put my guys that’s with me now in position. Like Maverick Carter, my right-hand guy in my business. Rich Paul, my agent. Randy Mims, my friend—he’s my manager, you know. So me in a position allowing people around me to grow, that maybe wouldn’t have happened if I had two parents, two sisters, a dog, and a picket fence, you know?
4. LeBron Calls His Mother “My Champion”
According to Today, Gloria’s mother died when LeBron was just three years old. She was already a single mother, so losing her one source of support made raising her son even more difficult. After years of financial struggles, Gloria decided to let LeBron live with his pee-wee football coach “Big Frankie” Walker until she could find her footing. LeBron moved back in with his mother during his high school years.
LeBron wrote about the sacrifices of his mother in a lengthy letter on Today.com, calling Glorida his “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…
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.
5. LeBron & Savannah Have 3 Children: LeBron Jr., Bryce & Zhuri
When LeBron is not playing as one of the best hoopers on the planet, he is helping raise the couple’s three children: LeBron Jr., Bryce and Zhuri. LeBron understood what it was like to grow up without a father, and wanted his children to have a different experience.
“Just breaking the mode, that’s all,” LeBron told Cleveland.com. “I wanted to be a part of the statistics that breaks the mode of fathers running out on their kids. That was something that I obviously went through and I knew from Day 1 that wasn’t going to be me. So, to have a family and be there for them and be there on a day-to-day basis is important. I know I travel a lot but I’m a staple in the household and it means a lot to me and I know it means a lot to my kids.”
LeBron Jr. is just 13 years old, but is already gaining attention for his skills on the basketball court. LeBron sees parts of his game that are already farther along than he was at his son’s age.
“He’s already a better passer than I was,” James noted (via The New Yorker).
You can watch LeBron Jr.’s skills on the court in the highlights below.
Source: Heavy Sports