LeBron James gave the proceeds from his infamous “Taking My Talents to South Beach” announcement to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the summer of 2010.
Now the Boys & Girs Clubs are rewarding the Miami Heat star for his time and generosity. He has been bestowed with the “Champions of Youth” award from the organization.
Actor Denzel Washington, who is the Boys & Girls Clubs national spokesman, presented James with the award this week. James truly seemed humbled by the honor when reached by the Associated Press.
He has spent a great deal of time around the organization during the NBA lockout. It has been his way of giving back to the Boys & Girls Clubs, which were a major part of his youth in Akron, Ohio.
“I know I get a lot of headlines for what I do,” James said to AP. “But being around these kids these last two days and hearing their stories, I can really relate to them. I was one of those underprivileged kids where people thought we were a statistic and didn’t have a way out and would fall into the traps of life and our surroundings. For these kids to have a way out, that’s amazing and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
The feeling is definitely mutual.
“We’ve had this relationship with LeBron for five years,” said Frank Sanchez, the clubs’ vice president for sports and entertainment. “He believes in the work that we do. He understands the kids and kids’ needs. He understands what it’s like to grow up in a family with one parent. He understands what it means to grow up in a community that might be in duress. LeBron understands that at his core.”
(Photo: Kris Connor/Getty Images)