LeBron's uncle dishes
about family history
When LeBron James announced, on a live ESPN special, that he would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat, legions of former fans felt betrayed and outraged. What about his family? According to James' great-uncle, Steven J. Nelson Sr., many of James' ''castaway relatives'' have felt overlooked for a long time.
In Kin to the King: A LeBron James Family History, Nelson, whose late sister Freda was the mother of LeBron's mother Gloria James, remarks that, although the star has been quoted about the importance of family, he initialed rather than signed a relative's card ''since his signature is valuable.'' Nelson is quick to point out that ''we are not gold diggers or opportunists looking for a handout.''
The book isn't about LeBron James anyway: It's about a family, one that Nelson traces back to 1849 Georgia and a free black sharecropper named John William Gay. His descendants came to Northeast Ohio around 1910, and to a house on Hickory Street in Akron that became the family stronghold. Nelson tells of hardworking, strong-willed individuals (and a few rogues), giving not only a picture of a close-knit family but of a changing Akron. LeBron should read it.
One thing that would benefit this book is a family tree — such a large number of relatives and generations would be easier to digest with a graphic. Kin to the King (199 pages, softcover) costs $16.99 from P.O. Box 2404, Akron, 44309.