LeBron James was born on December 30, 1984, in Akron, Ohio. Not only has he been to 9 out of 10 NBA Finals, winning four titles and Finals MVPs with three different teams, but James has also undergone a transition of sorts to become a man of the people.
The LeBron James Family Foundation is launching the I Promise Huddle from Monday, Oct. 5, through Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, primarily at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn. I Promise Huddle is a recurring initiative designed to unite diverse voices and turn the desire for change into action. His foundation is in partnership with Stand Together, which is a philanthropic community that looks for solutions in education, poverty, and economic opportunity.
I Promise School
In 2018, James opened the doors of his I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. They identified Akron public school students that have been branded with behavioral problems and at risk of graduating. A small sample size of 240 students is just a beginning.
The first set of district assessments posted great results for third and fourth graders. Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district.
James said in a telephone interview:
These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” Mr. James said in a telephone interview hours before a game in Los Angeles for the Lakers. “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.
The I Promise school is not a charter school but a public school operated by the district. Its population is 60 percent black, 15 percent English-language learners, and 29 percent special education students. Three-thirds of the families meet the low-income standard to receive assistance from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Does this mean that James will finally get Jordan type respect?
Jordan or James
Many have concluded that James deserves the same respect that Michael Jordan gets. I don’t know if socially, Jordan would be considered the best example for James to follow.
There have been numerous social issues that affect African Americans, where Jordan’s voice was muted. Whether it was race, poverty, or Black people being assaulted by the police, the NBA icon was silent at his career height.
Jordan Why I kept Silent
Jordan, in an interview with Craig Melvin of on “Today,” Jordan said:
When I was playing, my vision – my tunnel vision – was my craft. I was a professional basketball player and tried to do that the best I could. Now I have more time to understand things around me, understand causes, understand issues, and commit my voice, lend financial support to.
When asked about those teammates that he has played with so far, James states:
I’ve always taken a lot of pride, and I get more of a rush seeing my teammates succeed more than myself. And that’s what an assist is all about. I was taught the game the right way, and seeing my teammates succeed has always been something that I’ve cared about more than anything, and that’s what it’s all about.
President Trump called for the NFL to fire or suspend those who kneel during The Star-Spangled Banner last year, and James was asked what he thought about it. He said:
He used the sports platform to divide us. Sports are so amazing, what sports can do for everyone, no matter shape, size, race, or brings people together like no other. I’m not going to let one individual no matter the power, the impact he or she should have ever use sport as a platform to divide us. The people run this country, not one person. And damn sure not him.
After winning the NBA Finals with three different teams, it would be safe to say that he has reached a stratosphere of greatness that has surpassed his Airness, Michael Jordan.
Opinion News by Omari Jahi
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
Sports Illustrated: LeBron James Deserves Michael Jordan Level Respect: Unchecked, ROBIN LUNDBERG
IMDb: LeBron James
NEWSONE: Michael Jordan Explains Why He Was ‘Apolitical’ In His Basketball Career, Newsone staff
Crain’s Cleveland Business: LeBron James Family Foundation to launch social justice initiative I Promise Huddle, CRAIN’S AKRON BUSINESS
The Hollywood Reporter: LeBron James: 10 Projects on His Growing Hollywood Slate, Marisa Guthrie
The New York Times: Lebron James Opens a School that was considered an Experiment. It’s Showing Promise, Erica L. Green
Feature and Top Image Courtesy of Luke Harold’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of Erik Drost’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Cynthia G. Wilson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License