When Gerald Wallace was traded Thursday from Charlotte to Portland, he received a text message from his mother, Alice Castleberry.

Like she often does, Castleberry sent her youngest son a Bible scripture. On Thursday, it was Philippians 4:13.

I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

"It's basically, 'Through God you can do all things,'" Castleberry said.

It's ironic, though, because these days it's not Wallace who needs the strength, but Castleberry.

Wallace, 28, is in the prime of his career, having established himself as one of the toughest and hardest playing forwards in the NBA.

Castleberry, 51, is getting back on her feet after a grueling battle with multiple myeloma, a blood disease that attacks the bones. Last December she had a bone marrow transplant and underwent chemotherapy. The cancer is in remission, but her kidneys are operating at 15 percent capacity.

"She's everything to me," Wallace said. "She raised me and my brother by herself. She was always there for us, she made sacrifices for us. Growing up, she put us in a position to better ourselves as men."

For Wallace, that included instilling a work ethic that separates himself from many in the NBA.

"It's like my mom always said: You won't always be the tallest player. You won't always be the quickest player. You won't always be the best shooter, or the best defender," Wallace said. "But the one thing you can do to separate yourself is to compete hard and give all your effort. Everything else will fall into place."

Like always, Castleberry, who still lives in the small Alabama town where Wallace grew up, was right.

Few in the NBA, if any, play harder than Wallace and few, if any, throw their bodies around the court in pursuit of victory as much as the 6-foot-7, 220-pounder. It's why he was a 2010 All-Star, an All-Defensive team selection and is the owner of a contract that pays him $10.5 million a year for the next two seasons.