Is Lebron writing the blueprint for the next generation of professional athletes?

Lebron James was referring to his son, as mentioned in a piece written by The Undefeated’s Justin Tinsley. James’ statement could also have a dual meaning. As Lebron lays the blueprint for his children, maybe he’s attempting to do the same for the future stars of the NBA as well. Whether this is intentional or not on James’ part, fellow athletes need to take notice.

As it should be known, Lebron opened up his I Promise elementary school in his hometown of Akron, OH on July 30. I Promise is a school focused on at-risk children, partially because they remind him of himself at their age.

Many people of influence give back to their communities, but if we’re keeping it a buck, they could do more. Giving back in any form is a true virtue and should be praised, but what James did was invest. This isn’t a hefty one-time donation to a cause, and this isn’t a basketball camp. This is a lifetime investment of time and money that will undoubtedly aid in changing the community he grew up in for the long-term.

Considering a large amount of NBA players to be specific, but professional athletes in general, being from the inner-city and dealing with a similar childhood as Lebron, you’d expect more to be done for these communities. There are too many camps at private and suburban schools and communities that do absolutely nothing for the communities many of these athletes came from. Free camps have increased in popularity but in too many cases are those camps too far from our inner-city youth or not geared towards them.

I appreciate that Lebron didn’t ‘stick to sports,’ like Laura Ingraham demanded him to do.

An East Cleveland neighborhood.

I can sympathize with his vision because I was also a kid from the inner-city. Although I was blessed enough to enjoy my entire childhood with both of my parents under the same roof, many of my friends did not. My parents were also fortunate enough to provide a comfortable life for me growing up, but many of my friend’s parents were not able to and I saw the struggle. I watched many of my childhood friends fall to the wayside because life kept throwing curveballs and there was nobody to help. That’s why there need to be more investments in our communities like what Lebron did in his.

Don’t get me wrong, Lebron is a very wealthy man. He’s worth $440 million, but you don’t have to be that wealthy to start investing in your community. Professional basketball players from the last roster spot to the top make enough money to significantly impact their communities.

The camps, the donations, and the functions are all commendable but it’s time to think outside the box and truly invest in change that will actually change things.

Lebron is drawing up the blueprint for the next generation of NBA stars before he heads into retirement. We’re talking players like Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons, Giannis Antetokounmpo and more of the next generation of superstars. With so many players being preoccupied with political-correctness and public appearance, too many have ignored where they’ve come from when in the public spotlight. Many shy away from authenticity (unless it deals with fashion or something superficial).

Will Lebron’s actions resonate with this new generation of stars?

About Author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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