I know pretty much nothing about sports. I know a few of the famous names and among those I know about LeBron James. I've never actually watched him play, but in my opinion, his most recent endeavor off the court has made him the G.O.A.T. ("greatest of all time").
On Monday, July 30, James christened the opening of his I Promise school, a public school in Akron, Ohio, for at-risk kids. He called it the "most important accomplishment of his career," something he'd been planning since 2015.
In addition to an intensely structured program to support the third and fourth graders, the graduating class would receive a full ride, paid by James, to the University of Akron (after meeting specific standards).
Philanthropy is normal for celebrities and sports stars, but James is going further than just a donation of money. In planning and structuring a specific program to help impoverished kids, he's automatically created a future for them. Throwing money at the problem may start the funding, but a structured program ensures that there is an endpoint to these kids' success.
Furthermore, James is taking care of brown kids that have not received the proper educational attention they deserve. James' childhood was similar to the kids he wants to take care of, he was born into a poor family supported by a teenage mother in Akron. He often missed school because of a lack of resources and did not always know where his next meal was coming from.
He has become the greatest of all time not only for his extraordinary record in basketball but for also giving back to where he started even more than his childhood self would have ever expected. He saw what opportunities he was given and as soon as he was able to, he gave it all back to kids like him in hopes they would see the same success.
Ultimately, LeBron James is a push for other celebrities and athletes to take such a giant leap. Rather than making a few small donations, celebrities should figure out a cause they feel strongly about and support it to its success.
He serves as an example of why celebrities and athletes should branch out from their art form and contribute to discussions they care about. To stay within their entertainment industry and not use their resources to speak out on politic issues they are related to or fund programs for at-risk kids is to ignore their power in our culture.
Previously, James has been told to "shut up and dribble" instead of taking a stand on certain political issues, and rather than take that to heart, James went above and beyond. Using his privilege as one of the greatest athletes of all time, James creates a path for other athletes to feel comfortable speaking out about politics and social issues.
The "I Promise" school will provide more for its students than any public school has done before and will hopefully create an example for lawmakers to follow in creating proper environments for the future of our country. Education has always been a struggle for America and for it to take a celebrity to show the government what a proper school should be like is embarrassing, but maybe it will be the change the country needs.