LeBron James To Open Up A Public School In His Akron, Ohio Hometown
The good kid from the 330, LeBron James, told reporters on Thursday his plans for opening up a public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
For those who know me, the #330 is where I call home. Yes, I may be living in Brooklyn for over a decade, and do consider myself a New Yorker, I was born in Akron, Ohio and lived in the #330 the majority of my life. I saw a young LeBron James at 13-years-old putting the business on men twice his age, a basketball prodigy whose gift of enhanced sight and ability made him a burgeoning star in a land where the most known star at the time was James Ingraham.
Fast forward 20 years and LeBron James is now a father, a three-time NBA champion, a Olympic Gold medalists numerous times over and, arguably, the best basketball player on the planet. Yet, all those accolades have not made the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar forget where he’s from and what he owes his talent from—Akron, Ohio. The #330. So, hearing that the point-forward told a group of reporters about opening up a school in Akron was the “most important accomplishment of his career” wasn’t as far-fetched as one might believe.
“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 this past Thursday. “Championships, MVPs, I mean points, rebounds and assists, that stuff is 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.”
In Northeastern Ohio, Cleveland was the “city,” with its different neighborhoods, sports stadiums and nightlife downtown atmosphere. Akron was always (and still is) considered “the hood,” along with Canton and Youngstown. You had to be good at something to make it out or you would succumb to the gangs, drugs or career criminal life that awaited you in those areas. James, blessed to have otherworldly skills, found life in basketball, but never forgot to extend his reach back to help others like him to escape a dire fate.
The Akron School Board approved plans for a new public school to be founded in partnership with The LeBron James Family Foundation on Tuesday. The school is expected to open in Akron next fall for third and fourth graders with plans of adding more grades in the future. Based on James’ “I Promise” initiative, which was launched in 2011, LeBron focused on helping struggling students stay in school. Now, the program 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.”
James followed up “promise” with another announcement in 2015 where if participants completed high school with a 3.0 GPA, he would provide them with full scholarships to the University of Akron. With over 1,000 students in the program, estimated costs to him and his foundation round out at $41 million. “The basketball thing — it’s fun, I love it and I enjoy it,” the world’s second highest-paid athlete according to Forbes said. “But to give back and being able to open up a school, that’s something that will last way beyond my years.”
And that’s why those who are from Akron, the #330, are forever proud to call it home.