No matter what you may think of LeBron James’ inability to stay with one team and how that might affect his GOAT status versus Michael Jordan, you can’t deny his philanthropic efforts outside of basketball.
James has never been shy about speaking on political issues. He’s been vocal in his support for the Movement for Black Lives, his disdain for the current president of white women who wear cowboy boots and daisy dukes and openly campaigned for Hillary Clinton.
On Monday, James opened the first I Promise School, “an new elementary school for at-risk children in his hometown” of Akron, Ohio, ESPN reports.
And despite being the best player in the universe who has played in some of the biggest basketball games of his life, James was nervous.
According to the sports site, the school will work with third and fourth graders and will expand to offer more grades in the coming years. For James, the move to start with third and fourth grade was deeply personal.
“LeBron missed a lot of school in the fourth grade. It’s well-documented,” Michele Campbell, the executive director of James’ foundation told USA Today. “We all know which path he took. He took the right path with some very good people around him and now we know him as the world’s best basketball player. He could’ve taken the other road, and we would’ve never known LeBron James. He would’ve been a statistic like a lot of students who drop out of school.”
While the I Promise program has been in effect for a while—oh, and let’s not forget that James has promised to take care of tuition for the 1,100 kids at the University of Akron once they complete the program—the school is the first of its kind. Through the LeBron James Foundation, the school is working with kids who’ve fallen behind to give them an opportunity to participate in something different.
“Every one of these kids, maybe they don’t become LeBron James on the basketball court, but they become the LeBron James of their passion and dream in life,” Campbell told USA Today. “We’re coming to them at a time when people came to LeBron and Gloria [LeBron’s mom] and wrapped around them and believed in them before he was this great basketball player.”