Daniel Thomas, 28, earned the nickname “the Lebron James of real estate” for his early succession of slam-dunks in the business. Like the basketball superstar, Thomas has risen from humble beginnings. His mother offered up her last $500 so he could enroll in real estate classes when he was 19. He balanced college classes with Division 1 track and field at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., and still managed to close $3 million in sales his first year. He opened his firm at 23 and didn’t shy away from rentals—they still make up a large portion of his transactions and help connect him with future buyers. Thomas founded a college scholarship fund and donates a portion of his commission to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a cause RE/MAX has supported since 1992. “Those of us who can have a responsibility to help build bridges for others,” he says.