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Attention Getter: Now a days, professional athletes are representative of so much more than just the sport they play. We see them at every glance, from being the face of clothing brands, food brands, car companies, movies. The list goes on and on. Professional athletes are endorsed so heavily because they have a large influence over the public. Since athletes are so influential, I wanted to focus my speech on one of the most widely known athletes right now, LeBron James.
Relevance: Here at ISU, many of us attend sporting events, hear talk around campus about recent wins, or some of you could be friends with an ISU athlete. Even though professional athletes like LeBron James may not be as easy to find walking to class like an ISU basketball player would, we are still familiar with the house-hold name. Even if you are not a sports fan, maybe you have seen someone around wearing a James jersey, you have watched him on television, or you just recognize the name. None the less, LeBron James has become an influential public figure.
How it works
Credibility: Initially, my motivation for making LeBron James my speech topic stemmed from me liking him as an athlete. However, as I dove deeper and deeper into my research, I found information about how LeBron James has been using his fortunes and spotlight for good. Which inspired me to focus my speech on not just his athletic achievements but his philanthropy work as well.
Thesis: LeBron James has had many life achievements. Including making it through a difficult childhood, to rising to the top in his professional basketball career, and his most recent philanthropy ventures.
First I will speak about the struggles LeBron faced growing ip in Akron, Ohio. My next point is about his career in the NBA. Lastly, I will talk about LeBron James charitable work.
Transition: Before any of us knew the name LeBron James, he was just a kid growing up in the poverty stricken area of Akron, Ohio.
LeBron James childhood played a key role in finding success later in life.
An ESPN article titled Lost stories of LeBron part 1 by Eli Saslow published in 2013 gives insight to the youth of the basketball star. Long before he tatted Chosen 1 across his back, James was in fact like so many other lost children in Akron.
“”Bron Bron”” as he was called was raised by his single mother, Gloria. Throughout his childhood, James never has a stable home environment. Gloria and Lebron moved from home to home, they slept on a lot of couches.
LeBron James remembers not dwelling on his financial burdens as a child . In an 2013 ESPN article titled Lost stories of LeBron part 1 by Eli Saslow, Lebron talks about having to move from home to home. “”I just grabbed my little backpack, which held all the possessions I needed, and said to myself what I always said to myself: It’s time to role.””
The trajectory of LeBrons’ life changed in fourth grade when he started playing youth football.
The same 2013 ESPN article, Lost stories of LeBron part 1 by Eli Saslow talks about his unparalleled athletic ability for a child his age. His youth coach was one of the first people to let LeBron know that he was something special. however, LeBron was still searching for ways to keep himself busy and out of trouble. He found the basketball courts to be an escape from the harsh neighborhoods of Akron.
The youth group sports made a large impact on LeBron James. He found that he was athletically gifted and he found his one true love, basketball. In 2011, Sports Illustrated published an article called LeBron James in high school which highlights how LeBron took his athletic abilities and love for basketball with him to high school. In doing so, LeBron James became the most coveted high school player in history while at St. Vincent St. Mary high school in Akron, Ohio.
His freshman year of high school, James earned a starting position on the basketball team right away. It helped that by his freshman year, he was already 6’7. That year, LeBron lead St. Vincent St. Mary to a state title.
The next year, as a sophomore, his game improved. Giving his high school another state title.
As a junior, LeBron landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
Transition: LeBron James was so talented as a junior in high school, he became more talked about than most pros in the league.
LeBron James NBA career.
James talents continued to flourish after his high school basketball career. A recent 2018 la times article, LeBron James career timeline by Angel Rodriquez showcases each important step in his professional career. LeBron James was drafted right out of high school. His hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, selected LeBron James as the first pick in the 2003 NBA draft.
It was evident that LeBron James was the real deal in the league, even as a rookie. In 2004, James was awarded rookie of the year award after an impressive first year as a Cleveland Cavalier.
His career continued to rise in the following years. From playing in his first NBA all- star game in 2005 to leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2007.
LeBron James gave the city of Cleveland and the Cavalier franchise great pride. Which made his next career move all the more controversial. Perhaps one of the most memorable decisions in LeBrons’ career was to ‘take his talents to south beach’. On July 8, 2010, James announced he will play for the Miami Heat in a televised event on ESPN called “”The Decision””. However, James was successful in Miami. He won his first NBA title for the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013.
According to the la times timeline, in 2014 LeBron James took his talents back to his hometown to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers. James made Cleveland proud once again by giving the Cavaliers an NBA title in 2016.
Perhaps the freshest memory of LeBron James career is his decision in 2018 to continue his career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Transition: Despite his impressive career and talents on the court, LeBron is outspoken about wanting to have a legacy that is more than just basketball.
LeBron James started a charitable foundation called The LeBron James Family Foundation.
As I spoke about before, James childhood was marked with poverty and struggles growing up in Akron, Ohio. Since James accredits much of his work ethic and success to making it through those tough times, he wanted to give back. Smartbuiness published The LeBron James Family Foundation article in 2015 that explores James’ charitable projects. James decided to create The LeBron James family foundation to help children growing up without the resources they need.
The LeBron James Family Foundation has undergone numerous projects such as remodeling facilities, partnering with other programs, hosting events, and providing millions of dollars to those in need.
The most extensive project The LeBron James Family Foundation has ever undergone was the ‘I Promise’ initiative. He created a movement where kids would promise him to go to school, eat right, stay active, respect authority, and most of all stay out of trouble. With this promise came the idea of actually having an environment for the ‘I Promise’ initiative to prosper. So it came, that in 2018 LeBron James opened his I Promise school in Akron, Ohio. With all the resources he could imagine to make his hometown a better place to grow up in.
Transition: LeBron may want to be remembered for his philanthropy work. However, it is hard to forget all of the successes he has had since just being a lost kid in Akron.
Thesis/Summary: LeBron James has come a long way from growing up in poverty. James was able to overcome his struggles as a child and make it as a professional athlete in the NBA. Now, James takes on charitable work with his foundation. Which he hopes to leave behind as his legacy.
If necessary, linking information
LeBron often humbly remarks, “”I’m still just a kid from Akron, Ohio””. Although, with all of his success I think we can agree he has become much more.
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