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LeBron James I Promise School: Too Bad It’s Not a Charter School

Sep 23, 2018 by

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Andy Smarick –

It may be remembered for its short-term savvy and long-term failure to meet expectations.

Basketball’s best player has departed his rust-belt home state for the second time, decamping, once again, for sunnier, glitzier environs. But LeBron James, newly minted Los Angeles Laker, learned an invaluable lesson from his first breakup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Back in 2010, he left his devoted fans empty-handed and wounded—the Cavs’ owner called it a “cowardly betrayal.” He exited without a championship and dramatically revealed his plan to join the Miami Heat in a made-for-TV event, The Decision. To Cleveland’s beleaguered faithful and a rapt sports world he announced, “I’m going to take my talents to South Beach,” then proceeded to win two championships there and become one of the world’s most famous athletes. Cavs fans clapped back in public displays of catharsis, gathering in public squares to tear their garments and burn his jersey.

The optics of this episode were especially unfortunate because they belied James’s generosity. He had raised funds and donated personally to charitable causes nationally (including a portion of the proceeds from The Decision to Boys & Girls Clubs of America). And he had contributed meaningfully to a host of local initiatives. But starting with the touching 2014 announcement of his return to Cleveland—“My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball”—an older, wiser, and more politically astute James has publicly worn that loyalty on his sleeve. His local philanthropy has grown, and his outreach to community leaders through advisory boards, a student-ambassador initiative, and public meetings has been commendable.

Beyond all of this, James is leaving two particularly valuable parting gifts. The 2016 NBA title he helped win will be Cleveland’s forever. And, thanks to his substantial philanthropic investment, his hometown of Akron (about 40 miles outside Cleveland) is getting a brand-new public elementary school. But whereas James’s 2010 departure will be remembered for its short-term ham-handedness and long-term payoff with the title, this new school might, unfortunately, be remembered for its short-term savvy and long-term failure to meet expectations.

Source: LeBron James I Promise School: Too Bad It’s Not a Charter School

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