Basketball superstar LeBron “The King” James has given back to his people by opening a school for disadvantaged children of his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
James, a three-time National Basketball Association champion, is being praised by sports fans the world over.
A king gives
The Los Angeles Lakers’ new blue chip acquisition proudly announced that his envisioned “I Promise School” opened its doors to 240 third and fourth grade students from low-income families.
They entered the school as the first pupils of James’ latest philanthropic endeavor. The school hopes to expand to 1,000 students by 2021.
The I Promise School will be unique from other schools in the area, being oriented towards helping those economically disadvantaged.
It will operate as a public school offering free tuition, free meals, longer class hours and will also provide free bicycles as a means for safe transportation for its students.
James has also pledged that the school will assist the parents of its students through a job placement program.
Its curriculum focuses on the science, technology, engineering and mathematics so as to prepare students for future employment.
The program’s most ambitious promise however is its offer of a free scholarship through the LeBron James Family Foundation to any graduate of the school who will attend the University of Akron.
Fans all the way from the Philippines are applauding the league’s biggest star for his efforts.
LeBron James just put up a school that provides, breakfast, lunch & a snack for their students.
LeBron making it hard to root against him.
Undeniably one of the greatest to ever play the game & more importantly, a great man off the court.
Mad respect to you, @KingJames. ??
— Jeric Medina (@JericMedina) July 31, 2018
— Alves, Benjamin. (@benxalves) July 31, 2018
The school was opened around a month after James’ announced his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Lakers.
James, while speaking at his school’s opening ceremony, affirmed his ties with the state of Ohio, calling Akron ‘home’ despite the decision to spend the remainder of his career in Los Angeles.
"Know no matter if I'm playing in Los Angeles or not, Akron, Ohio is always home for me. Always."
— NBA TV (@NBATV) July 30, 2018
James was widely criticized for his decision to leave the Cavaliers, the team that drafted him, in favor of seeking greener pastures with the Miami Heat in 2010.
Several Cleveland fans recorded themselves burning replicas of James’ jersey.
After four years and two championships with the Heat, James returned to Cleveland in 2014.
The four-time Most Valuable Player in 2016 led the Cavaliers to their first NBA championship, edging out the feared Golden State Warriors in seven games.
He left Cleveland anew following losses to the Warriors in the finals in the past two years. Fans this time seem to be more accepting of their homegrown star’s decision.
Before the stardom
Born to a teenage single mother, James faced poverty as a child and had to live in the crime-infested neighborhoods of Akron.
Their family’s break came when James broke out as a basketball star while playing for St. Vincent—St.Mary High School and attracted endorsers and the interest of NBA franchises as a high school player.
Now the biggest name in basketball, James in the past has spoken about the poverty he experienced as inspiration to give back to the poor.
He has donated millions of dollars from his salary to charity and has held several events the proceeds of which he donated.