AKRON, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James went back to school and back in time on Wednesday.
Joined by four high school teammates, the NBA superstar dedicated a multicolored outdoor basketball court at the I Promise School, which he founded last year for underprivileged children in his hometown.
James took a break from his starring role in “Space Jam 2,” currently in production, to spend time with the kids and support his family foundation.
Before taking the court for a quick pickup game against the youngsters, James took the microphone and addressed the kids, encouraging them to chase their dreams the way he and his friends have.
“This is a basketball court and we see basketball hoops, but it teaches you so much more than just basketball,” he said. “To be able to create a brotherhood or sisterhood and create things that will last forever. A lot of people say things you do in high school you’ll forget. Well, we created a friendship 25 years ago and we’re still firm and strong. This is our way of giving it back to you guys — paying it forward.”
And then, James was again dribbling and passing with Dru Joyce III, Willie McGee, Romeo Travis and Sian Cotton, the “Fab Five” from St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, a group that won a state title and became nationally known as James rose from an Ohio teen prodigy to professional icon.
His former coach, Dru Joyce, was also on hand.
James, who is spending more than $1 million on various upgrades for the school, dunked to break in one of the new hoops but missed a couple of long 3-pointers.
The 34-year-old will soon begin his second season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He missed the playoffs last season, failing to make the Finals for the first time in nine years.
The four-time MVP did not speak to the media following his on-court appearance.
James and the Akron Public Schools teamed up on the school, which is providing a nurturing academic environment for at-risk kids.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports