When LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014 after four years with the Miami Heat he didn’t promise an NBA championship, or instant success. Instead, he made a pact with Northeast Ohio. “I feel my calling here goes above basketball,” he told Sports Illustrated. “I have a responsibility to lead, in more ways than one, and I take that very seriously.”
James has realized this ambition through the LeBron James Family Foundation, which will provide mentoring and full college scholarships to 1,100 underprivileged children in his hometown of Akron. He has also used his platform as the game’s most famous star to speak out on issues such as President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order and the relationship between law enforcement and black communities. And while he didn’t promise to end Cleveland’s 50-year championship drought, James did, in dramatic style, lead the Cavaliers to overturn a 3-1 series deficit against the favored Golden State Warriors.