NBA & Education


Think the NBA and education have nothing in common?  Think again.

LeBron James, arguably the greatest basketball player in the NBA today, was recently named Sports Illustrated’s 2012 Sportsmen of the Year.

Yet, beyond touting James’ incredible accomplishments on the court, they also praised him for his significant contributions to young children off the court, particularly in the town of Akron, Ohio.

Upon learning that a student drops out of high school every 26 seconds, James wanted to know what more could be done.  The answer: third grade reading.  “There is a lot of research that tells us where kids are at third grade in terms of reading level [indicates] where they will be at 30,” says David James, superintendent of Akron public schools.

Children who start behind tend to stay behind.  Did you know? Children not reading proficiently in third grade are four times more likely not to graduate from high school.

In response to this incredible need, James introduced “Wheels for Education” and invited every incoming third grader deemed “at-risk” to become a part of it.  In its first two years, 516 children have enrolled in the program where they participate in “fall camp,” promise to finish school, attend after school programs, and receive supportive voice mails and monthly letters from James encouraging them to keep going and finish strong.

In its inaugural year, every third grader who participated, successfully completed third grade and went on to fourth grade.

Click here to watch a video highlighting the success of Wheels for Education.

Here in Virginia, 1 in 8 children arrive at kindergarten without basic reading skills.  We can do better!  Click here to join the movement to elevate early education.


Invest in our Children!