Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James told a group of reporters on Thursday that opening up a school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio is perhaps the most important accomplishment of his career.
“Besides having three kids and marrying my wife, putting my mom in a position where she never has to worry about anything again for the rest of her life, this is right up there,” James said. “Championships, MVPs, I mean points, rebounds and assists, that stuff if whatever. But for me to be able to open up a school and give back to my inner city for so many kids that I know because I was those kids.”
LeBron says the school he’s opening in Akron is the most important thing he’s done as a professional. pic.twitter.com/OvPZAvJTFk
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 30, 2017
The Akron School Board approved plans for a new public school to be founded in partnership with the LeBron James Family Foundation on Tuesday. It is expected to open in Akron next fall for third and fourth graders, according to NBA.com, with plans of adding more grades in the future.
The school is based on an initiative James launched in 2011, “I Promise,” which focused on helping struggling students stay in school. The program now identifies a group of third grade students on a yearly basis who are falling behind, and supports them with “the resources, mentorship and encouragement they need to stay on track to graduation.”
It was then announced in 2015 that James will provide “I Promise” participants with full scholarships to the University of Akron if they go on to complete high school with a 3.0 GPA. With over 1,000 students in the program, it’s expected to cost James and his foundation over $41 million.
“The basketball thing – it’s fun, I love it and I enjoy it,” James, the world’s second highest-paid athlete according to Forbes, continued on Thursday. “But to give back and being able to open up a school, that’s something that will last way beyond my years.”