Nike video features LeBron James telling the story of giving back to Akron

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LeBron James is the subject of a video produced by Nike as part of its “What Are You Working On?” series, in which the company “discovers the work in progress happening around the world, told through the goal of athletes who navigate new journeys within and beyond their sport.”

James, who grew up in Akron and attended St. Vincent St. Mary’s High School, is considered by many to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time. Now 37, he traveled to Cleveland in the 2003 NBA Draft. He then helped the Cavaliers win their first NBA title in 2016, following a stint with the Miami Heat in which the Heat have won two NBA championships. James went to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2018, where he won his fourth NBA title in 2020.

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In the 20 years since the start of his career, James has contributed to the Akron community in many ways, including his I Promise School, a public elementary school in Akron supported by the LeBron James Family Foundation.

The video features James recounting his work giving back to the community as he walks around town, stopping at House Three Thirty, the Spring Hill Apartments, his old high school, and the I Promise Institute.

“I’m still trying to find a way to continue to empower and breathe life into this community that built me,” James says in the video.

LeBron James talks about giving back to his hometown of Akron in a new Nike video.

House Three Thirty, named after the Akron area area code 330, is Tangier’s former event center, which was purchased by the LeBron Family Foundation in 2020 and is currently undergoing renovations.

The foundation plans to use the venue as a gathering space for I Promise School and I Promise Program students and their families. And, as in the past, it will continue to offer public concerts and spaces for speakers once House Three Thirty is fully operational.

Current and future projects in Akron from the LeBron James Family Foundation

James said he used to go to banquets in Tangier after basketball tournaments.

“If we now own this place, it will be another resource for our families,” he says in the video.

James lived at Spring Hill Apartments from sixth through 12th grade. He said he and some of his high school friends always communicated and called the years they were together between 1999 and 2003 the best time of their lives.

The final stop is a commercial kitchen at the I Promise Institute, where a group of students wearing “We Are Family” logo shirts are chatting with James.

James continues to narrate as he drives through town.

LeBron James speaks at the I Promise school commencement ceremony on July 30, 2018.

“Everyone’s journey makes them who they are,” he says. “Because of the loopholes and things I had to go through when I was younger, I wanted to make sure that the majority of kids who came from the same community didn’t have to go through…You just hope that you can leave it in a better place than it was when you were growing up.”

The “What are you working on?” episode featuring James is the 24 since the series first video was released earlier this year.

Previous episodes have featured soccer stars Alphonso Davies and Alex Morgan, world-record marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge and Olympian Raevyn Rogers, among others.

Nike said James is “still working tirelessly to pave the way for the next generation from that same community.”

Eric Marotta can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MarottaEric.

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