LeBron James has been called all sorts of not-so-kind things since holding the NBA world hostage last summer with his free-agency decision. There’s one thing he can’t be accused of, however—being anything other than supportive of children this past year.
For instance: Whatever you thought of “The Decision” aside, James raised more than $3 million for Boys & Girls Clubs across the U.S. with his one-hour July 2010 special on ESPN.
Now, alongside State Farm, James has high school dropouts in his sights. The insurance giant recently launched a program called 26 Seconds, due to the staggering fact that a student drops out of high school every 26 seconds in the United States. The basketball star appears on the 26 Seconds website and helped launch the campaign.
James, who went straight to the NBA after high school, first announced his participation last Wednesday on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski’s weekly radio show. (Krzyzewski coached James in the 2008 Olympics.)
“First of all, ’26 Seconds’ is basically an initiative behind kids staying in school,” James said on the show. “Every 26 seconds a kid drops out of school, and that’s not good. I think in America, we all know when kids graduate, they have a better future in life.”
“It’s basically kids getting parents aware of the situation,” James continued. “Kids with no education is not how it should be. Every kid should have the opportunity to have an education, and we’re going to make sure we pinpoint those certain situations in whatever community it is to make it a huge awareness in people’s lives.”
If you’re interested in the 26 Seconds program, my colleague Caralee Adams covered more specifics about it on her blog, College Bound.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.