LeBron James foundation gives homeless youth a chance in Akron

AKRON, Ohio — LeBron James’ basketball career started in a place similar to this: huddled around a hoop on a tucked-away Akron street, with friends wiping their brows as beads of sweat, illuminated by a nearby porch light, dribbled down their faces.

London Riley, 10, is determined to score on her much older rivals; she darts across the rain-slicked court, nimbly dodging the defense before sinking a basket through the hoop. Riley is one of 20 Akron students living in the LeBron James Family Foundation’s new transitional housing complex who didn’t always have a safe place to play outside, or even live.

But on this late-October evening, she can just focus on the game.

James, a four-time NBA champion, knows these kids’ situations all too well: As a child, James was among the 10% of Akron students each year without permanent or stable housing. His foundation is aiming to change that with Akron’s new I Promise Village, a program providing individual living units for families who need immediate shelter and support.

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