Lucille O'Neal
Shaquille O'Neal's mom, Lucille O'Neal

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Led by the mother of Shaquille O’Neal, a group of NBA moms are proving some of the best action takes place off-court 

They are NBA moms today, but before their sons entered the spotlight they were just “Mom.” The mothers of Dwyane Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson and Josh Smith come from different cities and different walks of life, but they have one thing in common: They diligently pray for their superstar sons.

Jolinda Wade, mother of Dwyane Wade, sends her son text messages with inspiring Scriptures to feed his spirit every day. “I encourage Dwyane in the Lord when he goes through trials. He comes to my church when he’s in Chicago, and he claps and jumps and praises God. Dwyane prayed me through a lot of stuff. Now, I pray for him every day.”

Lucille O’Neal co-founded the Mothers of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) to provide support to moms whose sons and daughters play in the NBA or WNBA. She’s the current president—and a praying mom. “I always pray for my son. I encourage Shaquille to be true to his heart, to set goals and to work hard. And I pray.”

Paulette Smith, mother of Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, says: “You never stop being a mom. If God directs me in a way to minister to my son, that’s the way I will go. More often, I just pray. Prayer is a powerful weapon.”

Christine Johnson, Magic Johnson’s mother, encouraged her son along the way to his NBA career—and did plenty of praying for him. Her advice to mothers everywhere: “Just pray for them and with them. When your children grow up and leave your house, there’s not much you can do but pray.”

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