LeBron James on 'I Promise' students getting free tuition to Kent State: 'The best thing I've ever done'

Jayne Kamin-Oncea (USA Today)

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is a lot more than an athlete, and he has committed to giving back to his community, especially in Akron, Ohio where he grew up. James opened the I Promise school in his home town, pledging to help elementary school students who may not have access to the same level of opportunities as they should. 

His school, which is the jewel of the I Promise program that the LeBron James Family Foundation started in 2011, aims to better the lives of the youth in Akron in and out of the classroom, and he is continuing his work with the students by helping them pursue higher education.

On Wednesday, he made a major announcement, revealing that the inaugural graduating class of students in the I Promise program will receive free tuition to Kent State, located in Kent, Ohio, for four years, if they choose to go there. The students already had the same offer, as part of the program, at the University of Akron. 

The 193 students are currently juniors will also receive a free meal plan and free room and board for a year. 

The students thought they were just paying a visit to Kent State, but received much more, and the reactions were priceless.

The school stated the students must continue their good academic standing to remain eligible, as well as complete the required credits and reach their community service and volunteer hours.

James spoke with the media and explained just how much this means to him and to his students.

The NBA superstar has accomplished quite a lot in his life, but this one takes the cake.

He said:

"I just know that so many kids in my community just don't have many options. For me to be able to be in a position to give these kids options to decide what they want to do with their future, it's probably the best thing I've ever done."

Shaking his head in disbelief and smiling saying, "So to be able to give free tuition to my inaugural kids in my ... it doesn't...," James said, almost at a loss of words. "It's crazy."

Beaming with excitement he continued saying, "I mean, free tuition for four years. So they get to decide do they want free tuition [at Kent State] or do they wanna go to Akron U, we have so many options."

This could not be done without the help from Kent State and James made sure to praise their support, "Kent State loves that we're doing, we've always had a great relationship."

Kent State interim Senior Vice President and Provost Melody Tankersley emphasized that this is something these students have proven they deserve, "This was earned. The efforts of the I PROMISE students are to be celebrated."

Michele Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation echoed those thoughts saying, "The I PROMISE program is built on the 'earned, not given' philosophy. We are so excited that our students that have worked incredibly hard have earned even more life-changing opportunities to grow and excel."

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