LeBron James has long advocated for youth education. His organization, the LeBron James Family Foundation, has secured full scholarships to the University of Akron for all students who finish his I PROMISE Institute. More than 1,000 are currently enrolled.
LeBron isn’t just talking the talk, though. You may remember he went straight to the NBA out of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in 2003. Thursday, he said he too plans to attend college—when he has the time.
“I’m signed up at the University of Akron for whenever I’m able to get a little bit of down time,” LeBron said, according to Ohio.com. “That’s always been a conversation that took place to take some college courses, take some classes. So right now I just do a lot of reading, book reading, and obviously I’m around some really good people that I kind of take their knowledge and sort it into my mind.”
LeBron is known as a voracious reader. During his NBA Finals runs with the Miami Heat, he frequently shut down social media and focused on reading books between games.
LeBron’s first class of students at I PROMISE, who began when they were in third grade, are now eighth-graders.
“We’re putting these kids in college and getting them education, but also the success rate of graduating college is very low as well even once you get to college,” LeBron said. “We wanted to figure out a way where we could help these kids graduate college and that’s where the institute came from… Just trying to make a difference."
The institute provides tutoring, among other services, for the at-risk kids. And what might LeBron major in at Akron?
“I love world history, just the history of how everything was put together,” he said. “I love that part of things, and people that founded the world, made this world such a beautiful place. I’m pretty fond of that. I love when I go around, obviously every summer traveling places, and it’s kind of unique to see how we kind of built things. Who kind of ruled places at certain points of time. It’s pretty cool.”
He is interested in math, too.
This is not a unique proposition. Athletes who leave college early, or skip it altogether, to get to the professional ranks frequently return to school to finish their degree.
It is impressive, however, when you consider that LeBron is already worth more than $1 billion, and he has no practical need to return to school other than his own appetite for learning and self development. Just one more reason they call him King.