Despite anyone else’s personal opinions about the man’s performance and decisions on the basketball court and his balling life and career, I know of no better high-profile role model for youth (and adults) in the sports or entertainment professions than LeBron James.
This multi-award-winning Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the National Basketball Association (NBA) was drafted after his unprecedented third selection to the All-USA first team high school hoops squad in 2003. His pro career began and he won Rookie of the Year, showing the world his dedication to the game.
Two years later he established The LeBron James Family Foundation that initially held a bike-a-thon to raise money for various philanthropic activities. The Foundation expanded their bike-a-thon to become the Wheels for Education (WFE) program and include an academic piece. The paid and volunteer staff have assisted hundreds of students achieve a better life, especially through the “I Promise” aspect of the program.
Each year, LeBron and his Foundation select third grade students to become members of WFE. They start their year with a two-week technology camp co-sponsored by the Akron After School program and the Foundation. During the academic year, students receive support, encouragement and whatever intervention is needed. But it doesn’t end there. Assistance continues to their high school graduation.
However, he decided that it did not end there.
Earlier this year, LeBron’s Foundation made the announcement that the University of Akron (UA) and he, through the Foundation, would provide scholarships to as many as 2,300 students to the university beginning in 2021.
That is quite a commitment and says much about the man.
In addition, UA established the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education where UA President Scott Scarborough said, “You can come to LeBron’s college and become a teacher, help kids succeed in life.”
As to the man himself and his relationship to the WFE students … here is an example of a message he sends to them, this portion of one is from Sept 29, 2015, titled “On Time”:
“How has school been going? Is everyone arriving to school and class ON TIME? Remember that’s a big part of our PROMISE. Early is on-time, on-time is late, and late is… you don’t want me to find out you’re late!!!
“It’s very important to me that you are setting the right example for my Wheels for Ed kids. They are looking up to you. If you’re doing the right thing, they’ll do the right thing.
“Continue to set the example for your classmates.
While I am definitely aware of many who do good works, it would be great to see more athletes and celebrities serve others with undertakings of this size and scope.
Over For Now.
Main Street One