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Sonja Chargois

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An 'unexplainable' relationship

DECATUR, Ill. -- Cody Carr just shakes his head.

Describe the relationship between son Lewis Jackson and mother Zinda Chargois-Jackson?

"Their relationship is like brother and sister," said Carr, one of Lewis' good friends. "It's real unexplainable."

How's this to explain: Lewis has a tattoo of his mom's face on his right biceps.

Or this: She's the wallpaper on his cell phone.

He works hard because he wants to make her proud.

He's humble because he wants his personality to reflect well on how he was raised.

He respects her because she is his everything: mother, father, provider, encourager, sounding-board, reality check, perspective-giver.

"We are pretty close," said Zinda, who didn't want her son to get the tattoo. "After his dad left, we got really tight. It was like being a single mom, how are you going to raise a young man? Raising a girl is different. Just had to buckle down and do it."

Lewis Jackson was raised until he was 4 in a household of mostly women. Zinda had him when she was 19 and still living at home, so his aunts Sonja and Tanja treated him more like a brother than a nephew.

When Jackson talks about his basketball future -- he'd like to get a chance to play in the NBA -- the conversation always includes his mom.

"I understand my career is about making money," he said. "If I can go overseas and play, I'm successful in my eyes as long as I can help my mom."