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SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — Along with getting good grades and listening to their parents, LeBron James has encouraged kids in his foundation’s educational program to stand up for their beliefs.

On Tuesday night, the superstar gave a lesson in how it’s done.

Concluding a day of fun and games at an amusement park, James turned serious when speaking about the recent violence and tragedy in Charlottesville. James also took a pointed swipe at President Donald Trump, calling him the “so-called president.”

While holding his young daughter, Zhuri, James stood on stage before an excited crowd of students, parents, and others connected to the LeBron James Family Foundation and delivered his emotional message.

“I know there’s a lot of tragic things happening in Charlottesville,” James said to cap the annual event at Cedar Point amusement park. “I have this platform and I’m somebody that has a voice of command, and the only way for us to get better as a society and for us to get better as people is love. And that’s the only way we’re going to be able to conquer something as one.”

Then, James, who endorsed Hillary Clinton last year and introduced her at a rally in Cleveland just two days before the election, went at Trump, whom he has criticized in the past.

“It’s not about the guy that’s the so-called president of the United States, or whatever the case. It’s not about a teacher that you don’t feel like cares about what’s going on with you every day. It’s not about people that you just don’t feel like want to give the best energy and effort to you. It’s about us. It’s about us looking in the mirror. Kids all the way up to the adults. All of us looking in the mirror and saying, ‘What can we do better to help change?’ And if we can all do that and give 110 percent, then that’s all you can ask for.

“So, shout-out to the innocent people in Charlottesville and shout-out to everybody across the world that just want to be great and just want to love. Thank you, and I love you all.”

James’ remarks ended a star-studded show that included pop stars Jordin Sparks and Usher as well as his Cavaliers’ teammate J.R. Smith. They stood alongside him for his message along with his sons, Bronny and Bryce.

There had been a celebratory vibe all day, as James hosted nearly 7,000 of his foundation’s students and their families, who strolled around the immense park best known for its roller-coasters wearing light blue T-shirts with “We Are Family” across the fronts.

It was as if James’ hometown of Akron had all gone out together for the day, and that was exactly the point of the event — to celebrate the successes of kids committed to making more of their lives.

Now in its sixth year, James’ Foundation has brought hope to children who might not have any otherwise. If the students meet certain criteria, stay in the program and graduate, they can receive full tuition to the University of Akron.

“That means everything,” Latasha McCullough said as she sat with her husband, Arthur, and children Arlissa and Arsea while waiting for James to appear on stage.

The McCulloughs have been directly impacted by James and his work, and they’re forever grateful.

“He doesn’t have to do anything,” Latasha said. “All he is responsible for are his kids, his family, go to work and provide for his, but he does it for his city. He does it for everybody, everybody’s kids. All the things he didn’t have growing up, he’s giving it to our kids with no problem and he’s not being selfish. It’s constant and consistent, you earn what you get.”

James has grown his foundation beyond its initial goals of tackling the city’s dropout rate. Next year, the charity will open the I Promise School, designed to help students who have already fallen behind and need extra attention.

Michelle Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, is awed by what the group has accomplished.

James has led the way.

“It’s never enough with him,” she said. “He is always pushing, just like on the basketball court, pushing and pushing. I could have never imagined what we have done and are doing, but with his belief and what he wants to do and his drive and his ability to put all these partners around us. We can’t fail.

“It started out with working with kids and changing a child, then OK, we got the family involved and we learned that some didn’t have their high school diplomas, so we broke down those barriers. Now he’s changing a whole community. He’s uplifting this whole community, on his back.”

(Photo Credit: Erin McLaughlin/The Sandusky Register via AP)

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10 thoughts on “LeBron Calls For Love, Unity Before Taking Swipe At Trump

  1. I would like to commend this young man, not for his talents on the Basketball court but for his humanitarian acts of love, kindness, and giving back to his community. I wish that all of the professional athletes shared his sense of purpose.

  2. Tunisia Morse on said:

    Awesome work LeBron James you have my love and respect. The system has always been set up against us, so violence in the street is about struggle to eat. Some are mental illness issues, education system has failed us so it will create an underground system of making money that’s what we will do. We are survivors and warriors by nature. That being said we need more than just LEBRON to pitch in and help. Each athlete do something in your hometown. You know what will happen? Another attack on our people to tear down what we build read your history, but this time we are not our grandparents.

  3. FallMornings on said:

    @L. Your words ring so true. It shouldn’t matter who’s at 1600 Penn. We, black’s, have been murdering each other long before he arrived. This behavior has got to cease.

  4. I applaud leBron, he doesn’t have to do anything for his community. Kudos to him. I’m sure these families appreciate in very much.

  5. It’s about time that people of color STOPPED WAITING for white folks to LUV US.

    First and foremost, if nothing the incident in Charlottesville VA should have showed us

    The ALT-Right NUTS are a very well organized group who have been waiting in the wings
    since President Obama took office back in 2009.

    They are MOTIVATED by PURE HATE and have a leader/spokesperson who works out of

    The incident in VA is only the tip of the iceberg. There will be many more of these UGLY
    marches and unfortunately more VIOLENCE as the result.

    Therefore, people of color need to take note:–STOP WASTING AMMO shooting and killing
    EACH OTHER–those bullets will be very VALUABLE!

    We are not each others ENEMY!!!!!!

    You best believe those RIGHT-WING NUTS/NAZI’S/KLAN are all Heavily armed and are not
    afraid to SHOOT AND KILL those who DISAGREE with them AND THOSE WHO DO NOT
    LOOK LIKE THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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