LeBron James Moved To Tears Watching Debut Of His 'I Promise'  Documentary Series

Jill Painter Lopez

LeBron James was moved to tears while watching the first three episodes of the documentary series “I Promise,” based on the school he founded for at-risk children in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. 

James discussed his impressions of the documentary with Michele Campbell, the executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, on Instagram Live after they both watched the series debut on the Quibi app on Monday.

The docuseries delves in the lives of four students: Vince, Scout, Nate and Dae’Shaunna. It shows their struggles and triumphs, both at home and in school.  

“At times we were laughing," James said. "At times there were tears coming down, not only my eyes, some of my family members as well. Most of my family loves Vince, and Dae’Shaunna and Scout. And you see how far Scout is able to come. And seeing how fast she was trying to read and articulate it in her mind. You see her progression. The same with Nate. You see his progression. I don’t want to tell it because it’s so doggone good. I’m excited to know we were able to put this together, not the documentary itself, but the structure, the school, the support from the city of Akron. This film is the byproduct of all the support we’ve had since 2018 when we opened.”

James was an executive producer on the project. He watched the documentary series at home with his wife, children, in-laws and chef. 

At any given moment, around 21,000 people watched his Instagram Live on Monday. 

Campbell, who affectionately calls James, “L.J.,” said the school's initial plans were thrown out the window after a “rocky start.” The school's officials quickly realized they needed to deal with behavioral issues and figure out a way to get the children to trust them. The docuseries discuses how many of the children are dealing with trauma in their lives. 

Campbell asked James what he was most proud of after watching the first few episodes

“I think I’m most proud of the never-say-die attitude of our kids, no matter how hard it got, no matter how stressful it got, no matter how painful it is,” James said. “The kids continue to break the barriers of their own psyches and what’s going on outside of our schools.

“Adversity is going to happen, no matter if you’re a third grader or fourth grader or 35, like my age, or like members of my family that are older than me. Adversity happens in life. The ones who can push through it and see that it’s greener on the other side, those are the ones who are going to be successful. To see what those kids went through early on and to know when they hit adversity later on, they know they can get through it.”