LeBron James surprises students at his 'I Promise School' with $1 million for new gym

Posted at 10:42 AM, May 10, 2019

AKRON, Ohio — LeBron James surprised students at his I Promise School in Akron with $1 million grant from the Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation for a brand new gym for after school sports and PE activities.

Students gathered in the gym of James' alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron. They had no idea James was behind the curtain to reveal the big announcement.

“To my kids, this is more than a gym. The Dick's Sports Matter program is helping us provide even more opportunities. An opportunity to play and learn in a safe place that many don’t have access to," James said. "I can’t imagine where my friends and I would be if it weren’t for the coaches and teachers who cared about us and the opportunities we had."


The I Promise School was founded in partnership with Akron Public Schools and the LeBron James Foundation, serving 240 of Akron's most at-risk low incomes areas.

James' foundation and Dick's Sporting Goods created Sports Matter in 2014 to help address a funding crisis of youth sports programs nationwide.

“I believe the sky is the limit for these kids and the results we’re seeing are just the beginning. Dick's Sporting Goods Foundation believes in the opportunities and values sports provide, and I’ve experienced that at every level," James said. "I saw it growing up with my teammates and I see it with my kids now. The benefits of playing sports can extend to every aspect of your life, and I’m excited we’re able to provide a space for that growth at the I Promise School."

The basketball court and the gym are special places for James. Data shows students who are physically active and play sports have higher test scores, get better grades and are absent less at school.