Basketball | August 7, 2018

LeBron James: The Lakers, I Promise School & President Trump

There’s never a day off for an athlete of the magnitude of LeBron James. The King has been busy in the off-season, first announcing his move to Hollywood to reignite the Lake Show, then opening a new I Promise school to help the most vulnerable children from his hometown, and lastly engaging in the political rhetoric to denounce the divisiveness of President Trump.

Cleveland’s former number 23 changed the landscape of the NBA when he announced that he would be changing the wine and gold of Cleveland to join Magic Johnson’s LA Lakers in the off-season.

After making eight-straight NBA finals in a row, James, now 33-years-old, heads to the highly competitive Western Conference, on a Lakers roster that finished three places outside of the play-offs with a 35–47 record.

So next year, for the first-time in nine years, the representatives of the East will not feature King James, opening the door for the likes of the Boston Celtics, the Philadelphia Sixers and the Toronto Raptors.

With no other marquee free-agents joining the Lakers, it also means James will be unlikely to return to the finals next year, although his talent should be enough to elevate the Lakers back into the postseason.

The Lakers last won the championship in 2010, as Kobe Bryant led the team to a seven-game finals thriller against rivals Celtics, who had Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce. They last appeared in the playoffs in 2013, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs in the first round.

“You can look at the [Dallas] Cowboys, you can look at the [New England] Patriots, you can look at Manchester United, Boston Celtics. These are historical franchises and for me to be a part of that is a great moment, not only for me, but also my family and the history of basketball in general,” James said after joining the Lakers.

In leaving his hometown team for a second time, the three-time NBA champion opened a new ‘I Promise’ school for at-risk children. The school will provide free uniforms, free breakfast, lunch and snacks, free transportation within two miles, free bicycles and helmets, and a food pantry for their family.

Additionally, GEDs and job placement services for parents will be made available, as well as a guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for every student that graduates. Though James will be a major donor to the school, I Promise will be run by the district, and therefore will also funded by tax payers’ money.

“This school would not have happened without the partnership with LeBron James,” said district Treasurer Ryan Pendleton.

James who has openly criticised president Donald Trump for using sports to divide people, was insulted by the president after announcing details of the I Promise school.

“Lebron James was just interviewed by the dumbest man on television, Don Lemon. He made Lebron look smart, which isn’t easy to do. I like Mike!” Trump tweeted.

The ‘I like Mike’ comment fuelled a response from Michael Jordan. “I support LJ. He’s doing an amazing job for his community,” a statement from Jordan read.

On the court LeBron James is faced with a huge task to make the Lakers a title contender again, but off the court the kid from Akron has shown that he is more than an athlete.

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