At a mid-December 2015 game between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James, the Cavaliers’ star player and a noted humanitarian, broke early from a team huddle and approached a fan in a Celtics jersey.
James had spotted the fan’s shoes, a model that the star athlete had collaborated with Nike to design. The shoes, called the Nike Zoom LeBron Soldier 8 Flyease, were specifically made for athletes with disabilities.
After exchanging a few words with the young fan (who was the MVP of the basketball Special Olympics), James patted the boy’s head before returning to the court.
Now, more than two years after that encounter, James is still spreading the love to athletes with disabilities.
Last week, the four-time MVP made an appearance at the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital for Rehabilitation to hand out the newest Nike FlyEase model to athletes with disabilities.
“It’s about us empowering every kid and everybody to understand that we are all athletes,” James said in a video. “Sport, in general, should never be taken away from any kid. It creates fun, it creates laughter, it creates competitiveness, it creates brotherhood or sisterhood.”
The FlyEase 10, released to the public Monday, is specifically made with the needs of athletes with disabilities in mind. Instead of laces, the shoes feature a zippered flap that makes the shoe easy to get on and off.
James played a key role in designing the shoe, and is now backing this up by personally distributing the shoes to kids who need them.
This is just one charitable initiative that James has been involved with in the past few years. Through the LeBron James Family Foundation, the star athlete sent more than 1,100 Cleveland-area kids to college on full-ride scholarships in 2015.
Now a father of three, his work with kids includes supporting several non-profit organizations: After-School All-Stars, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Children's Defense Fund, Gabrielle's Angel Foundation, and ONEXONE.
Both on and off the court, James has not been afraid to make his voice heard — leading the way with social activism and charitable donations.
That he’s lending his powerful voice to athletes with disabilities is just another reason James is the real MVP.