Wait, LeBron went straight to the NBA out of high school, what the hell does he know about education? He’s not an academic teacher by any means, but he knows what worked for him growing up. He surrounded himself with people who pushed him to succeed which kept him out of trouble, unlike many of his friends. I’ve been in his shoes. I used basketball as a support system to keep me focused on academics to help take me to the next level, and the next level, and eventually on to college. I wasn’t a superhuman athlete (I’m still not), but that’s the type of support system he wants to build into the youth education system in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Take a look:
The image and platform LeBron has built for himself throughout his career is an enormous driving force in his community. Just because he’s a sports icon that kids look up to, he can help guide them down the right path because they don’t want to disappoint their hero. The way that he engages with these kids is phenomenal. If a student is not obeying or doing his or her school work, LeBron will send them a personalized letter. If Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant did anything like that for me growing up, I would undoubtedly listen and follow through with what they told me to do. If my hero saw me slipping and wrote me about it, I would be so embarrassed… but more importantly, I would be motivated.
I imagine it’s pretty difficult to convince younger people that education is the answer. But when you are LeBron James, you can convince most people anything.