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LeBron James writes a letter thanking his absent dad

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LeBron never knew his father. But he thanks him in an Instagram post, claiming it fueled him to excel in his work.

USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James' dad was never around.  The best player in the world decided to take to Instagram to ... thank his absent father for providing fuel that helps LeBron achieve his own goals and follow through on his commitments.

No one really knows why LeBron wrote this. But even if he wrote it for himself, there's no question it could help other kids with absent fathers see a bright light and start working hard to be successful. Inspiration comes from the bright spots in life, and LeBron laying it out there like this sure might help pull some younger versions of himself (albeit ones without the physical profile of a god) into the light.

We talk about athletes as role models in pretty cavalier terms. But in terms of specific actions that carry the benefit of helping those who need it most, this is a pretty damn strong model action.

This post has been edited for clarity.

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