LeBron James is off to a hot start in the NBA playoffs and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player on Friday, but that isn’t all he’s up to these days. The NBA superstar is taking generosity to a new level by funding his high school’s gym renovations.
James is donating $1 million to his alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary’s School in Akron, Ohio, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. The school’s gym has needed an upgrade for some time and the hometown star was more than willing to make it happen.
During the process, James will have a say in the redesign which reportedly includes a new playing surface, upgraded locker rooms, and more seating for guests. The 28-year-old will be right in the mix and plans on helping during renovations.
“I’m a hands-on guy and this is going to be more hands-on because it’s something that means a lot to me,” James told the Beacon-Journal about the renovation plans. “I’ll try to be hands on with Coach Dru, with the school, with the floor, the locker rooms, the bleachers. … I have a good sense of what stadiums or arenas or schools or gyms should look like.”
His heart will always have a place for Akron, no matter where he is or who he’s “posterizing” on the court. James became a worldwide superstar coming out of St. Vincent-St. Mary’s when he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers of his home-state in the 2003 NBA Draft.
As the most electrifying player in the NBA, James shocked the world off the court in 2010 when he decided to “take his talents” to South Beach and join the Miami Heat. Many who once called him a hero were suddenly burning his jerseys and thrashing him all over social media.
Nevertheless, LeBron James continued to return home and hold charity events, fundraisers, and the occasional shootaround at a local park. Since leaving for Miami, he’s become the most influential athlete in the NBA next to Kobe Bryant and has widely been considered the rightful heir to Michael Jordan.
He’s well on his way to defending the NBA Championship after a quick sweep of the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round and once the playoffs are over he will regularly return home to help out at his old high school. Outside of the gym renovations, James is also supplying the entire athletic department with new Nike jerseys for the 2013-14 season.
Is LeBron James the most generous athlete in sports? What other athletes have gone above and beyond to help those in need?
[Image via Keith Allison]