LeBron James has accomplished a lot on the basketball court over the last 15 years. He has won three NBA titles and four NBA MVP awards. He has been named to 13 All-Star teams and 11 All-NBA First Teams. He has been the NBA Rookie of the Year and the NBA scoring champion, and he even has a pair of Olympic gold medals. But during an interview on Thursday, LeBron said those accomplishments are nothing compared to something he just accomplished off the court.
LeBron just announced that his LeBron James Family Foundation is going to open the "I Promise School" next school year for 3rd and 4th graders in the Akron Public Schools system who are falling behind in class. The Akron school board approved the school’s plan to open, and they are also going to allow LeBron to shoot a documentary about the school opening. LeBron is hoping the school will make a difference in the lives of kids in his hometown and improve reading scores and graduation rates throughout the area. The school hasn’t even opened yet but LeBron is also calling it the "most important" thing he’s done.
"It is," he said. "Besides having three kids and marrying my wife, putting my mom in a position where she never has to worry about anything ever again for the rest of her life, this is right up there. Championships, MVPs, I mean, points, rebounds, and assists, that stuff is whatever."
LeBron has promised to play an active role in the school. The school is scheduled to open in the summer, well before other Akron schools start, and it’s also going to have longer hours than other schools, too. That’s all by design since many of the kids who will attend the school will come from environments where they might not have after-school care available or nutritious meals waiting for them at home at the end of the day.
LeBron sounds like he’s counting down the days until the school opens.
"For me to be able to open up a school and give back to my inner city, so many kids that I know because I was those kids," he said. "I walked those streets and it was just like, 'There’s no way I’m going to be able to get out of this situation.' I just thought about that every day. I had dreams and I had mentors and they allowed my dreams to become who I am today."
The school will open roughly three years after LeBron pledged to provide a college scholarship for every student who completes his "I Promise" program. That program will begin in 2021 and allow kids to attend the University of Akron for free if they graduate from an Akron public high school.