LeBron James Wrote A Kids' Book Called 'I Promise'

The NBA star's children's book is connected to the school he founded in Akron, Ohio.

LeBron James is a champion basketball player, one of the best in the NBA. He’s also an actor, philanthropist and advocate for civil rights.

And, because he apparently wants the rest of us to feel lazy, he’s adding a new career path to that list: children’s book author.

James partnered with illustrator Nina Mata to put together “I Promise,” a rhyming picture book aimed at kids between the ages of 4 and 8. The book focuses on the kinds of pledges kids make at the I Promise School, the public school he opened and continues to help fund in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

LeBron James and artist Nina Mata teamed up for "I Promise," a children's book.
LeBron James and artist Nina Mata teamed up for "I Promise," a children's book.

“The I Promise School was inspired by the big dreams of kids in my hometown and around the world,” James said, according to People. “At the start of every school year, and repeated each morning, all students make a set of promises to themselves, just like those in this book. Setting goals, working hard and holding yourself accountable are the first steps to success.”

The book features lines like “I promise to go to school and read as much as I can.” The audiobook is ready by James’ mother Gloria.

“We wanted to make sure these stories are ones that every single kid can see themselves in,” the Los Angeles Lakers star, 35, said in a new release. ”‘I Promise’ is powerful in that way, and I can’t wait for people to read it.

James has three kids with his wife Savannah Brinson: LeBron Jr., known as Bronny, who’s 15, Bryce, 12, and Zhuri, 6.

Two children at an event at The LeBron James Family Foundation in Akron, Ohio.
Two children at an event at The LeBron James Family Foundation in Akron, Ohio.

James opened the school in 2018 largely due to the achievement gap in his hometown. Lots of low-income families in Akron faced conditions that made it hard to their kids to succeed at school. Many of the students at the I Promise School had previously been considered the worst performers in the city’s public school system, and some as young as eight years old were already at risk of not graduating, according to The New York Times.

James has said he really struggled at school when he was a kid. He grew up with a single mother who was just 16 when he was born. Her own mother died shortly after, leaving her to take care of her two brothers in addition to her baby. They moved around a lot, making it hard to get any semblance of stability. When James was eight, he missed 100 out of 162 school days.

“Growing up in the inner city, the numbers are always stacked up against you, so you didn’t really know what was possible,” he told Sports Center.

Last year, it was announced that all 163 students in the I Promise School’s inaugural class would be receiving free college tuition and housing at Kent State University.

“These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” James told the Times. He’s also said opening the school is one of his most important accomplishments.