On Tuesday, August 9, NBA superstar LeBron James of the Miami Heat made a return visit to Akron, Ohio to cut the ribbon and officially open The LeBron James Clubhouse, a safe haven for children that was paid for with the $240,000 that was donated through his family foundation.
James reflected on the location and how he and his friends were once afraid to go there as children. “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “As a kid, this is one of the places we didn’t want to go. But to see the transformation from what this place used to be to what it is now is amazing, and the only reason we’re doing it is for these kids. They are our future.”
James delivered a heartfelt dedication speech by addressing the children, who listened to the star intently. “We have presidents in here, doctors, lawyers, possibly professional athletes,” he said. “All the dreams they have, there should be a way for them to accomplish it. I dreamed a lot as a kid and the reason I could is that I had people around me who never shut the door. I had coaches, mentors, my mother and friends. We all believed in the same thing and I was able to accomplish it – with a lot of help. I never did it on my own, and to this day, I’m not doing it on my own.”
On Monday, August 8, James also launched a program to provide academic tools to hundreds of third graders, which will follow them through until they graduate from high school. A stout supporter of the betterment of children, the NBA star emphasized during the delivery of his dedication that – regardless of his infamous decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat – he will always hold his hometown close to his heart.
“I will always be here,” he said. “I grew up in this city. I love this city, and I’m instilled in this city. No matter where my life may take me, I will always be in Akron, Ohio. I will always give back to Akron, Ohio. Because these kids deserve it.”
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