LeBron James surprised a group of about 50 teenagers at the YMCA in Harlem on Tuesday to announce a partnership between Uninterrupted, the YMCA and Lyft to give young people increased access to bicycles with free Citi Bike memberships.
When James walked into the gym, some kids screamed and others grabbed at their faces in shock, according to a video posted by Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group.
James gave the youth in attendance a free year's access to New York Citi Bike and a backpack filled with gear.
James, who relied on a bike as a child and has remained an avid biker in adulthood, said this event was personal. The 15-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion sometimes even used to bike to games when he played for Miami.
"This is very special to me," James said in the video. I was a kid who grew up in the inner city of Akron, Ohio, riding bikes. What bikes did for me, to be able to travel across the city with my friends, from my home to school, or get to basketball practices and football practices, and be able just to travel in the beautiful fresh air, be able to clear your mind at times, it's a segue to be able to do so many things that can also carry you for the rest of your life."
James said he didn't hesitate to attend the event on his off-day before a back-to-back against New York and Brooklyn on Wednesday and Thursday.
According to a blog by Lyft, the company will collaborate with the YMCA to give the memberships to eligible youth between the ages of 16 and 20.
"I truly appreciate you guys, love you guys, man, and I hope you guys continue to be great," James said to the audience. "Continue to be great role models, great citizens in the community. If you've got any siblings, continue to be role models to them, to your best friends, to your parents, all of them. People are looking up to y'all. You guys look up to me, but I look up to y'all for inspiration."