As protests unfolded outside Staples Center on Thursday morning, the Los Angeles Lakers star attraction was surprising students in Ohio with a check for $1 million dollars.
As dozens of fans assembled outside the home of the Lakers to voice their frustration and ire with the front office, James was at his high school alma mater in Akron to change the lives of many young students.
The LeBron James Family Foundation and Dick's Sporting Goods together organized an announcement at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School where James attended from 1999 until he was drafted into the NBA in 2003.
However, the announcement wasn't for his old high school — it was in his old high school gymnasium, but for the current students of his I Promise School, located down the street.
James hid behind a make-shift curtain to surprise his third and fourth grade students with a donation that would go towards the construction of a brand new gymnasium at the I Promise School.
"It's an unbelievable day for all of us at the I Promise School," said James. "Everyone here that has anything to do with the Dick's Foundation, we just want to say 'thank you.' We didn't set out to have donations like this. We didn't set out for recognition. We just set out to do some great for our kids. "
James told the students assembled that the foundation of his success began in the gym, where he would play basketball and have fun with his friends and classmates. He also stressed that the gym wasn't just for sports, but was also a safe place for everyone to enjoy.
U.S. & World
The day's top national and international news.
"I don't want you guys to think that the gym that we're putting up is just correlated behind sports," he continued. "It's also another safe place for our kids. Another place where our faculty members and our teachers and everyone associated with the place can still have hands on with our kids."
"The word 'sport' is definitely a huge thing because it's basically where I come from," said James. "I understand we preached education every day and we're going to continue to preach education every day because it means so much not only where you are today, but going on for the rest of your life."
The generous donation came courtesy of Dick's Sporting Goods and the LeBron James Family Foundation. Recently, the students at James' I Promise School saw their individual test scores rise considerably and at a faster pace than their peers. All the students enrolled at James' school began the year in the bottom 25th percentile of test scores.
Both foundations are hoping that the new gym will encourage students to be more physically active and play sports, two factors that studies have shown lead to higher test scores, better grades and a higher probability of attending college.