When we read about celebrities who have made names for themselves, it’s often a bootstrap story. We focus on how they lifted themselves out of poverty, worked hard, and are now succeeding.
But basketball superstar LeBron James isn’t having any of it.
“You know what would be really special? If there were no more humble beginnings,” James says. The star grew up in Akron, Ohio, and has consistently found ways to give back to his community. He knows that when the system is against you from the start, it’s much harder to achieve.
That’s why James launched the I Promise School, to help give 1400 elementary-age kids in Akron a helping hand early on. His school is determined to level the playing field in his hometown, teaching academic success as well as sports skills to Akron youth. The school is not only an academic hub. James knows that kids need more than just a great education, so there’s also a food pantry and transportation assistance. The test rates show it’s working; 90% of the 3rd and 4th graders are meeting or exceeding expectations for their grade level.
And that’s not the only way LeBron James is giving back.
Shoes are a major part of basketball. Their performance on the court is only slightly more important than their aesthetic style. James partners with Nike to design sneakers for children with disabilities. For instance, some shoes have zippered flats instead of laces to make it easier to put them on. He also gives away shoes to disadvantaged kids.
A parent to three children, LeBron James remembers his roots and inspires everyone to give back proudly, lifting up the next generation.