lebronjamesmom*Aww, this is the sweetest thing ever — celebrating a mother (outside of Mother’s Day)!

LeBron James writes a tribute to his mom Gloria James via The Shriver Report.

Part of a program, Maria Shriver, which according to theGrio launched at TODAY (#DoingItAll) Monday, it focuses on women overcoming challenges — like those reported in “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink”.

The program is in partnership with the Center for American Progress.

James wrote the following essay.

 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.”

Read more of James’ essay here at The Shriver Report.