KING'S NEW DOMINION - Sports Illustrated Vault | SI.com
Publish date:

KING'S NEW DOMINION

LEBRON LEAVES A LEGACY FOR CHILDREN IN HIS HOMETOWN
Author:

FOR 240 third- and fourth-grade students in Northeast Ohio, getting called into the principal's office could end up being the best day of their lives. That's because LeBron James has opened the I Promise School, a public institution formed as a collaboration between the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools. By 2022 the school hopes to enroll around 1,000 lower-income students, selected by lottery, from first through eighth grade.

I Promise will have longer school days and an extended academic year while providing free meals and a bicycle for each student. Other benefits include guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for graduates, and GED courses and job-placement services for parents. James's foundation and its partners have already donated more than $2 million, and James has committed to investing millions more annually.

LeBron's vision is intensely personal. Take the bikes: As a poor child in Akron, he used his to explore more affluent neighborhoods and alternate realities, giving him a sense of freedom. Of his school's students, he told CNN's Don Lemon, "I am one of them."

When asked by Lemon about Donald Trump, James said he's "used sport to kind of divide us, and that's something that I can't relate to," prompting the President to impugn James's intelligence in a tweet. Numerous athletes and celebrities responded by supporting James. The next day First Lady Melania Trump chimed in, returning the focus where it belongs: "It looks like LeBron James is working to do good things on behalf of our next generation."

RIVALRIES RENEWED

The stage is set for Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson, the long-rumored $10 million, winner-takes-all showdown of golf's fortysomething superstars, now scheduled for Thanksgiving weekend at Shadow Creek Golf Course, in Las Vegas. Though key details are still scarce—including who's fronting the cash—the event promises to be a ratings bonanza, and it got us thinking about other made-for-TV matchups we'd love to see.

O'NEAL VS. BARKLEY

ONE-ON-ONE

So Shaq's got seven inches on Sir Charles, but watching them do battle on the court today would be equal parts intentional and unintentional comedy. Plus, it'd be fun to see them run something besides their mouths.

FEDERER VS. NADAL

PING-PONG

Roger and Rafa have faced off 38 times over the last 14 years—on grass, on clay, on the hard court. To build up interest, a change of surface would be necessary: How about once on particleboard?

MAYWEATHER VS. MCGREGOR

CHESS

We've seen Floyd and Conor square off in the ring (a snorefest!) and smack-talking (clichés on clichés). But to see a meeting of their minds.... Oh, who are we kidding? Put them in a cage and throw out the rule book.