Rise from adversity through basketball

In Photo: LeBron James finds a young but tough customer, Kobe Paras, during an exhibition match on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

LEBRON JAMES hopes his story can inspire young Filipinos to rise from adversity through basketball.

The Cleveland Cavaliers star is the country to mentor finalists of “Rise,” a Nike-sponsored reality TV program aimed at finding young Filipino basketball players, mostly from the countryside, and to hone their talents.

Coming from humble beginnings and raised by a single mother, James said he can relate to what the “Rise kids” are going through.

“I think my story speaks for itself, you know I was a kid who didn’t believe that I can’t make my dream become a reality, and I know it will take a lot of hard work, a lot of sacrifice and a lot of love,” he said. “I just love the game so much that I won’t let nobody tell me that I couldn’t accomplish something, so I know exactly what a lot of these kids are going through.”

The four-time National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player, who last week announced a college scholarship program for kids in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, said it “feels great to be able to be someone that people look to, to be able to accomplish more.”

It is James’ second visit to the basketball-crazy Philippines, where nearly every village has a basketball court. The last time he visited two years ago he was still with the Miami Heat.

James said he wants to teach the kids skills and to “tell the stories that I can give them, tell them about the game.”

“Then it’s up to them to use that, the words that I give them, use them to better themselves,” he said.

Image credits: Kevin de la Cruz


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