In the world of basketball, LeBron James stands as a towering figure, not just for his unparalleled skills on the court but also for his exemplary traits off the hardwood. Beyond his slam dunks and three-pointers, LeBron James is a man of many facets — a busy entrepreneur and a trailblazer for a legion of basketball stars coming up behind him. But James’ most important role is the one that he holds down at home as a father.
LeBron, often referred to as “King James,” has captured the hearts of millions not just with his athleticism, but with the way he embodies dedication, leadership and compassion to his three children: LeBron “Bronny” James Jr., Bryce Maximus and Zhuri Nova.
As a professional athlete, LeBron’s schedule is undeniably demanding. Despite this, he consistently prioritizes family time, showcasing the importance of balance between career and personal life. The doting dad rushed to be by his son Bronny’s bedside in July 2023, when his 19-year-old son suffered a cardiac arrest during a basketball workout at the University of Southern California’s Galen Center. The young athlete fell unconscious and was transported to the hospital at around 9:26 a.m. by medics on a Code 3 level medical emergency. By July 25, Bronny was in a stable condition and “no longer” in the ICU, but LeBron continued to stand by his son, asking fans for their love and prayers in support of the rising USC Trojans star.
Now, his son is on track to be selected for the NBA draft.
I want to thank the countless people sending my family love and prayers. We feel you and I’m so grateful. Everyone doing great. We have our family together, safe and healthy, and we feel your love. Will have more to say when we’re ready but I wanted to tell everyone how much your…
— LeBron James (@KingJames) July 27, 2023
In October, the proud dad took to Instagram to show off his 8-year-old daughter Zhuri’s impressive volleyball skills. In the short clip, the 39-year-old NBA Legend cheered for little Zhuri as she served the ball. “Let’s Goooooo Muchkin,” the baller gushed in the caption.
There are countless other examples of the four-time NBA dad being a pillar of support and providing unconditional love to his three children, setting an incredible example of what a father should be.
Who is LeBron James’ father Anthony McClelland?
LeBron grew up in Akron, Ohio with his mother Gloria Marie James. According to ESPN, LeBron’s dad, Anthony McClelland, was absent during his childhood. In and out of the state prison system due to arson and theft convictions, McClelland was not there to raise LeBron into the man that he is today.
In 2014, the Los Angeles Lakers power forward wrote an open letter to his father, thanking him for not being a part of his life.
“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 father of three penned to McClelland. “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… 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?”
Gloria, whom LeBron affectionately calls “Glo,” also faced financial hardship. At one point, the basketball star was reportedly taken in by his fourth-grade football coach, Frankie Walker, after he noticed that he wasn’t attending school or games. Gloria asked if he could take care of LeBron on the weekends so that she could work hard to get herself financially stable.
“My life changed,” LeBron told ESPN in 2002. “I had shelter and food.” His school attendance also improved, but his mother spent quality time with him on the weekends.
“I don’t want to give the impression that Glo just dropped LeBron off on our doorstep,” Pam Walker clarified. “It was important to him and her that they maintain their relationship. So, wherever she was staying, he went with her on the weekend.”
In the basketball star’s formative years, LeBron formed a close connection with his mother’s boyfriend, Eddie Jackson. Eddie attended all of his 8th-grade basketball games. As LeBron began his climb to NBA stardom, he would look to Eddie, whom he later called “dad,” for advice and support along the way. LeBron even asked for him to team up with his mother and become his financial advisor during his early rise in the league, ESPN noted. It’s unclear if the baller maintains a close relationship with Eddie today.
LeBron James is passing off the torch to his sons, but some worry that nepotism will hurt their careers.
LeBron has expressed on multiple occasions how he would love to play alongside his eldest son Bronny in the NBA. During an interview with ESPN in 2023, the basketball icon gushed that he was waiting for the day to “be on the floor” with Bronny.
“Either in the same uniform or a matchup against him,” he added. “But I would love to do the whole Ken Griffey Sr. and Jr. thing. That would be ideal for sure. I ask him what are his aspirations, and he says he wants to play in the NBA.” LeBron added, “So, if he wants do to it, he’s got to put in the work. I’m here already, so, I’m just waiting on him.”
The NBA champ later softened his stance, telling reporters that he was proud of his son and happy to see him blazing his own trail in the basketball world. Standing at 6-foot-4, the USC freshman has scored seven points and made 2.4 rebounds along with 1.4 assists during the 2023/2024 season.
“I’ve done what I’ve had to do in this league, and my son is going to take his journey,” he added. “And whatever his journey, however his journey lays out, he’s going to do what’s best for him. And as his dad, and his mom, Savannah, and his brother and sister, we’re going to support him in whatever he decides to do. So, just because that’s my aspiration or my goal, doesn’t mean it’s his. And I’m absolutely OK with that.”
Bryce is also following in the NBA star’s footsteps. The 16-year-old junior guard transferred to Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California earlier this year, but then quickly returned to Sierra Canyon High School, where he played his first two seasons alongside his brother, Bronny. In November, the shooting guard scored six points and logged three assists, two steals and one block during Sierra Canyon’s big 86-24 win over Moorpark High School, according to Yahoo Sports.
Bronny and Bryce are slowly building a name for themselves on the court, but they are under the microscope because of their dad’s iconic basketball legacy. Naysayers online have been quick to cast doubt on the rising duo. Users on X, formerly Twitter, scoffed at Bryce when he landed a NIL deal with Klutch Sports Group in 2022, arguing that he was only able to land the deal because of nepotism. The same claims run amok when Bronny appeared in the Fast 10 commercial in April of last year. However, some fans were happy to see LeBron using his star power to secure a bright future for his brood. Other users clapped back at haters attempting to discredit Bronny and Bryce’s hard work on the court.
so his father signed him
— Charlez Zen (@chen0414) December 12, 2022
Bronny James is a product of nepotism. Is he good at basketball? Yes. Does highlights belong on my timeline everyday? No…… this might sound like hate but it’s the truth
— Vino B (@Vino_Bean) March 9, 2023
How on earth is Bronny on Team USA at the Nike Hoops Summit….there’s kids missing out on opportunities cause of this nepotism that’s corny as hell
— Immortal (@Geezy2k19) February 15, 2023
They really be on here saying “Nepotism” if you watched Bronny from his freshman to senior year, you would understand how better he has got & he has earned every accolade that has came his way.. That boy is a certified hooper.. https://t.co/BY9n2ktoed
— Ashley Ja’Terria (@All_N_Yo_Tweets) February 15, 2023
BRONNY JAMES GOT THE FAST 10 COMMERCIAL! LEBRON YOU A GOAT FOR THE NEPOTISM ALONE.
— Toni (@Toni_Snow_) April 15, 2023
bryce james signed an NIL deal with klutch. this is the kind of nepotism i can get behind. pic.twitter.com/c3B7X19O0t
— belal. (@itsbelal_a) December 12, 2022
Yessss I’m here for all the Nepotism Bronny is getting! Yes Bron set yo son up for success…Nike commercials, Beats commercials yes! It’s no point of struggling if yo parents got the Blueprint! If Basketball don’t work out he already got his OWN millions. #JamesGang
— Ms. 11/15 (@SlimGoodii_) October 17, 2022
Despite criticism, LeBron James remains a shining example of a dedicated, involved and loving father. The basketball star isn’t listening to the critics when it comes to the game of basketball or his role as an outstanding parent, and we love to see it!