Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James Will Pay $41.8 Million in Scholarships for 1,000 Students to Go to the University of Akron

LeBron James is the star of the Cleveland Cavaliers and one of the most talented players in the NBA.

But James remembers his roots growing up in the projects in Akron, Ohio, which is why he’s giving back to that community by offering thousands of Akron kids in his “I Promise” program the chance to go to the University of Akron on four-year, full-ride scholarships.

LeBron James Scholarships Offered Through ‘I Promise,’ University of Akron

The LeBron James scholarships will be offered in partnership with the University of Akron and through the LeBron James Family Foundation. This foundation runs the “I Promise” network, which encourages students in middle school through high school to attend school, engage in their education and graduate.

JPMorgan Chase will also provide a program used to track students’ progress through the “I Promise” program, reports the Associated Press.

James announced the scholarships along with University of Akron President Scott Scarborough at an event on Thursday.

“If you are one of LeBron’s kids … we want to tell you you have a college scholarship waiting for you at the University of Akron when you graduate from high school,” Scarborough said to the kids in the program, according to local newspaper the Akron Beacon Journal.

LeBron James Scholarships Aim to Bolster College Education Hopes

James has said that growing up in the inner city of Akron was rough for him. “Kids don’t really grow up thinking beyond high school,” he said, reports the Akron Beacon Journal. “Kids need to see a finish line.”

The first recipients to receive the scholarships will be graduating from high school in 2021. There are 1,100 kids currently in the program who are eligible for the LeBron James scholarships, and the “I Promise” program expects 1,200 more to join over the next four years.

As pointed out by SB Nation’s Hayley Byrnes, the LeBron James scholarships could cost a total of $41.8 million to pay for 1,100 kids’ $9,500-a-year tuition for four years at the University of Akron.

“These students have big dreams, and I’m happy to do everything I can to help them get there,” said James. “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.”

Read: NBA Draft 2015: Who Will Be the Most Expensive Players?

On Court: LeBron James and Cleveland Cavaliers Shoot for Tristan Thompson

Outside of his foundation, LeBron James is focused on the upcoming NBA season and helping his team get positioned for a championship. Right now, that means ensuring that restricted free agent Tristan Thompson stays with the Cleveland Cavaliers with a contract extension.

“Our No. 1 objective right now is to sign Tristan,” said James, reports ESPN. “He’s a huge part of our team. Short term and long term, he makes our team more dangerous.”

Tristan Thompson is currently a free agent and is reportedly looking for a maximum five-year, $94 million contract, according to ESPN. The Cavaliers, however, have so far been unwilling to offer that in part due to current luxury taxes that would jump from $13 million to $35 million if they gave Thompson what he’s asking for, reports NBC Sports.

“Things need to be worked out from his side and the Cavs, but we need him back,” James said. “I think our front office has done a great job this summer. The next step is to get Tristan done.”

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