The NBA’s premier superstar has been blessed to amass enormous wealth throughout his 17-year pro career. Per Forbes, James is set to make $92.4 million this season alone from his salary and numerous endorsements.
To this day, The King continues to give back to his community whenever he can, giving out generous donations to multiple charitable organizations.
James particularly feels the plight of underprivileged children, since he came from humble beginnings himself in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
LeBron was raised by his single mother, Gloria James, and they moved from apartment to apartment in Akron. Gloria often had to juggle multiple jobs just to make ends meet.
LeBron James, now 35 years old, overcame those struggles and eventually became one of the most recognizable athletes in the world.
The three-time NBA champion has long been a staunch supporter of children’s rights, while his humanitarian efforts have continued to provide the youth with the education opportunities they truly deserve.
For instance, proceeds from the highly scrutinized TV special “The Decision” back in the summer of 2010 actually did a lot of good. James reportedly designated $2.5 million of the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America to help provide after-school programs for young people.
James and his wife, Savannah, have made generous contributions to support the advocacies of the Children’s Defense Fund and OneXOne — an organization that focuses on supporting children by addressing hunger, health, education, water, and play.
LeBron has also been a supporter and contributor to After-School All-Stars in both Ohio and Los Angeles. He even chose After-School All-Stars Los Angeles as his charity of choice for the 2019 All-Star Game. This charity provides out-of-school programs for over 8,000 students in need across 52 low-income schools in the L.A. area.
Furthermore, James made a $2.5 million contribution to the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. The exhibit, titled “Muhammad Ali: A Force For Change,” features two parts: one celebrating Ali’s boxing career and another his social activism.
But perhaps his biggest contribution to date is the I Promise School in Ohio, specifically aimed to guide at-risk children through the help of the LeBron James Family Foundation.
Back in 2011 when he was still with the Miami Heat, James decided to create the “I PROMISE” initiative after being alarmed by Akron’s high school dropout rate:
“Every 26 seconds, a kid drops out of high school,” LeBron James said. “For me to be able to use my power to shed light on the situation and be able to improve it was a no-brainer.”
Having grown up in the same environment, James recalled how he was absent for 83 days in fourth grade since he and his mom had to relocate several times. This resulted in a substantial lack of education, which continues to be a sad reality for many kids to this day.
LeBron vows to give these kids with similar backgrounds a fighting chance by offering special support and care he never had when he was growing up.
James started small, beginning with an annual Bike-A-Thon called “Wheels for Education,” which gave out free bicycles, helmets, uniforms, food, and career placement for underprivileged kids and their families.
After partnering up with other concerned groups, James opened the I Promise School in 2018 for children in third and fourth grade. The school is expected to be fully operational by 2022, eventually teaching children grades one through eight.
The four-time NBA MVP is extremely invested in the project — both financially and personally. James and Savannah make public appearances as much as their schedule permits, while LBJ even has personal relationships with some of the students.
James also saw to it that these kids will have a path after high school, partnering with the University of Akron to provide free tuition for every graduating student covered under the pre-existing Akron I Promise Network Scholarship. LeBron’s foundation has pledged $41.8 million in scholarships.
As transcendent as James has been on the hardwood, his legacy also extends far beyond basketball.
LeBron James understands what these kids are growing through every day, and he will continue using his stature to provide inspiration for these youngsters to stay in school and follow their dreams.