- On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, SI looks back on LeBron James and his efforts off the court and in the communiuty.
While LeBron James is one of the most famous athletes on the planet, he's also pretty renowned for his efforts off the court and in the community. James has created a school, stood up to bigotry and stereotypes and empowered countless others.
Every year the NBA puts together a sizable slate of NBA games on Martin Luther King Day, and while James will not play for the Lakers tonight, we still found it necessary to point all the times he acted in the spirit of the late orator and civil rights activist.
LeBron Opens I Promise School
LeBron's decision to join the Lakers received wide attention, but it could be argued that his biggest move came when he decided to open the I Promise School, where he provides free tuition and promise of a college education to students. James, a native of Akron, Ohio, opened the school in his hometown in an effort to provide students with opportunities he didn't receive at a young age.
LeBron Donates 'Equality' Sneakers to the Smithsonian
LeBron, who previously donated $2.5 million for the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian, took that a step further when he wore a pair of his LeBron 15's with the word 'Equality' on the back and gave the proceeds to a drawing for the sneakers to the museum. He also later provided the museum with his game-worn shoes, completing an all-out effort to benefit the historic American landmark.
LeBron Produces 'Shut Up and Dribble' Documentary
When FOX's Laura Ingraham told LeBron James to "Shut up and dribble," he didn't just fire back. He used her words as fuel to further his cause, creating a three-part series with Showtime and nabbing Jemele Hill, who has very public run-in with President Donald Trump, to do the voiceover for the documentary.
LeBron Surprises NYC Students with Gear, Locker Room
Seemingly always in the giving spirit, LeBron James sought out Christ the King High School, a known basketball powerhouse in New York City, and provided gear and a new locker room. Christ the King, which is one of the Team LeBron schools, was treated face time with James and he even sat down to answer the students' questions.
LeBron Uplifts Newark High School Basketball Player
One of the better basketball documentaries in the past few years was put together by ESPN analyst Jay Williams, who worked with a high school in Newark, New Jersey, hoping to help players develop their game and make a change in their lives. When one of the players, junior Shaquan “Quan Quan” Clark, was arrested and placed on house arrest after being accused of stealing a phone, James recorded a motivational video that Williams sent directly to Quan Quan. He beamed as he watched the video Williams helped facilitate during a trip to Cleveland.