Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, October 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 31° Partly Cloudy
Sports >  NBA

LeBron James opens ‘I Promise’ school in hometown

UPDATED: Mon., July 30, 2018

LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, Monday, July 30, 2018. The I Promise School is supported by the The LeBron James Family Foundation and is run by the Akron Public Schools. (Phil Long / Associated Press)
LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio, Monday, July 30, 2018. The I Promise School is supported by the The LeBron James Family Foundation and is run by the Akron Public Schools. (Phil Long / Associated Press)
By Tom Withers Associated Press

AKRON, Ohio – LeBron James stood on a stage near one of the streets he walked as a troubled kid and looked out at thousands of faces. He felt connected to every one of them.

While his 3-year-old daughter, Zhuri, played at his feet, James watched as his mother, Gloria, raised a flag in front of a school that is perhaps his greatest triumph.

His incredible life. Full circle.

Before leaving for Los Angeles, James gave his hometown quite a gift.

James, who ended his second stint with Cleveland earlier this month by signing with the Los Angeles Lakers, on Monday opened his I Promise School, a year-around learning center devoted to some of the city’s most challenged youngsters – ones just like him.

For James, who recalled missing 82 days of school as a fourth grader while he and his mom “looked for stability,” the opening culminated years of planning by his family foundation.

“This means everything,” James told The Associated Press in an interview before the public event. “I think this is the greatest accomplishment for me because it’s not just me. A championship is for a team, that’s for an organization and a city. But these kids, this is for generation after generation after generation and it’s for these kids, so it means everything.”

It was an emotional day for James, who also made his first comments since signing the $154 million deal with the Lakers – a move still causing tremors across in the NBA.

James recalled beating the odds of his youth when life was a daily struggle for him and his mom. Nothing was easy as the pair constantly moved and it was only with the help of others than James found structure.

Now, he’s giving kids with the same problems a path.

“There is no way I could have imagined this,” he said. “I remember our foundation having a bike-a-thon, and I never thought a five-mile bike ride would turn into a school. This is something I’m at a loss of words for.”

As far as basketball, the 33-year-old superstar said the decision to leave Cleveland again was difficult, but he didn’t rule out a second homecoming with the Cavaliers.

“Listen, I don’t close the chapter on anything or close the book on anything,” James said when asked if he would return to Cleveland to end his career. “But hopefully I can sit there one day and watch my jersey go up into the rafters, that’s for sure.”

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.



New health insurance plans available Nov. 1 through Washington Healthplanfinder

 (Photo courtesy WAHBE)
Sponsored

Fall means the onset of the cold and flu season.