Promise Scholarships Coming From King James


The Promise movement welcomed an enormous star to the fold yesterday as LeBron James announced that he has partnered with the University of Akron to provide four-year scholarships to 1,100 qualified students from his “I Promise” program.

The award would cover tuition and fees at the University and the total commitment could be more than $40 million.

Calling himself “just a kid from Akron,” James told FOX Sports that that was the reason he was funding these scholarships. “These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there,” he said. “They’re going to have to earn it, but I’m excited to see what these kids can accomplish knowing that college is in their futures.”

The complete formula for receiving the scholarship is still being finalized by the University and the LeBron James Family Foundation. Among the expectations of qualifiers will be the graduation from an Akron public high school, testing standards and a community service obligation.

“It means so much because, as a kid growing up in the inner city and a lot of African-American kids, you don’t really think past high school,” said James, who bypassed college to jump to the NBA. “You don’t really know your future. You hear high school all the time, and you graduate high school and then you never think past that because either it’s not possible or your family’s not financially stable to even be able to support a kid going to college.”

The University of Akron will also be renaming its education department in honor of James. Beginning in 2021, the graduates of the program will have earned degrees from the LeBron James Family Foundation College of Education.

It should also be noted that a former NBA player frequently compared to James β€” Magic Johnson β€” has been an enthusiastic fundraiser for the Lansing Promise in his Michigan hometown.

A Magical Boost


In the 1980s Magic Johnson redefined the game of basketball in glitzy Los Angeles. And since he has become an international businessman and even a host of a late-night television show. But as big as his life has been, Johnson remains connected to his hometown in Michigan. He showed it by announcing a $1 million gift to Lansing Promise at a Thursday night fundraising dinner hosted by the Lansing Regional Chamber Economic Club.

“Lansing was the greatest place in the world to grow up,” Johnson said. “Everything I am came from Lansing, Michigan. Everything I will be came from Lansing, Michigan.”

Just three years after graduating from Lansing’s Everett High in 1977, Johnson led the Los Angeles Lakers to an NBA title, ushering in “Showtime.” The rivalry between his Lakers and Larry Bird’s Boston Celtics took the sport to new heights, giving it a global reach and paving the way for a generation of superstars.

Johnson detailed the gift during the dinner, which raised $200,000. The rest came from Johnson and his friends, including a $300,000 donation from Johnson, $250,000 from Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and another $25,000 from his former Laker coach Pat Riley.

“I was speechless,” Lansing School Board President Peter Spadafore told Ken Palmer of the Detroit Free Press. “I was thinking it would be more like $200,000. This community is willing to invest in the Lansing School District. It makes me very proud.”

And Magic wants to make the fundraiser an annual effort. “I want to change it to a dinner dance next year,” he said. “We can bring in a big act. We can have it on a Friday or Saturday night.”