03 August 2018

King James' Promise To Kids In His Hometown

Just after he died, I wrote about the role Muhammad Ali's bicycle played in his life. More precisely, losing his bike launched him on his path to becoming "The Greatest".  When he went to the police station to report his bicycle stolen, he exclaimed that he would "whup" the thief.  The sergeant who took his report, who just happened to be a boxing trainer on the side, suggested that the young Ali--then known as Cassius Clay--should learn how to fight before taking on bicycle thieves.

Fortunately for LeBron James, he didn't have to lose his bicycle to become "The Greatest", as he has been proclaimed, in his sport.  In fact, his bicycle got him to safe places after school in a tough Akron, Ohio neighborhood.  Among those safe places were community centers--and, yes, basketball courts.  The exercise he got along the way certainly helped keep him in condition to play basketball.

Although he continues to cycle, by choice, in those days he rode because his poor family didn't have a car.  He recognizes that some kids today are in situations similar to the one in which he grew up.

That is why he teamed up with the school board in his hometown to start the I Promise School for at-risk kids, whether their struggles are at home, in school or elsewhere.  The school offers a variety of services to meet the students' needs.  It also gives each kid a bike and helmet, as well as instruction in bike safety.  In addition, I Promise School has made arrangements with two local bike shops for repairs and maintenance.

Maybe one of those kids will grow up to be "The Greatest"--whether in a sport, or in some other  endeavor.

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