Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. Below is the op-ed he has written about his decision, which he has exclusively provided to Business Insider. The op-ed will also be published in the print edition of the Akron Beacon Journal on Monday.
Two years ago, I told you I was coming home to Northeast Ohio — where I was born and raised. When I came back, I had two missions.
In June, thanks to my teammates and all your support, I accomplished my on-the-court mission. We came back from being down 3-1 in the NBA Finals to finally grab what we've waited 52 long years for: a championship in Northeast Ohio.
Holding that trophy was beyond words. It still hasn't hit me. But for me, coming home was never just about basketball.
As a kid, I didn't have much money. It was just my mom and me, and things were rough at times. But I had basketball. That gave me a family, a community, and an education. That's more than a lot of children in Akron can say. There are a lot of people who want to tell kids who grew up like me and looked like me that they just don't have anything to look forward to.
That's dead wrong. And that's why I came back to Cleveland to continue my second mission. I am determined to make sure my kids in Akron have what they need to become their best selves. Opportunities, a support system, and a safety net for kids in poverty or kids in single-parent households shouldn't be limited to those lucky enough to be blessed with athletic talent.
When I entered the league, I founded the LeBron James Family Foundation. I didn't know it at the time, but my mission has become clear. We give kids in Akron the resources and opportunities they need to stay in school and reach their dreams through education.
I don't want to see any of them fall through the cracks. That easily could have happened to me.
But I was fortunate enough to have support and mentors around me who kept me on the right path. That's what we're giving these kids through my foundation. And when someone believes in you, that changes everything.
I'm so proud of the more than 1,100 students in my Wheels for Education and Akron I PROMISE Network programs. We're working on year six now, and my kids have big plans for their futures.
A lot of them didn't think college was for them, but now I hear they want to become things like doctors and business owners. We even have a future astrophysicist. I can't wait to see how far these kids can go.
I also tell all my kids how important it is that they give back to the community. Because if basketball has taught me anything, it's that no one achieves greatness alone. And it takes everyone working together to create real change.
When I look at this year's presidential race, it's clear which candidate believes the same thing. Only one person running truly understands the struggles of an Akron child born into poverty. And when I think about the kinds of policies and ideas the kids in my foundation need from our government, the choice is clear.
I support Hillary because she will build on the legacy of my good friend, President Barack Obama. I believe in what President Obama has done for our country and support her commitment to continuing that legacy.
Like my foundation, Hillary has always been a champion for children and their futures. For over 40 years, she's been working to improve public schools, expand access to health care, support children's hospitals, and so much more.
She wants to make sure kids have access to a good education, no matter what zip code they live in. She'll rebuild schools that are falling apart and put more money into computer science. She'll make sure teachers are paid what they deserve so they can give everything to their students.
She also has plans to make college a reality for more people in America, especially for those who can't afford it. My kids in Akron are proof of the hope and motivation that come from knowing college can be in their future, no matter what obstacles they might be facing.
Finally, we must address the violence, of every kind, the African-American community is experiencing in our streets and seeing on our TVs. I believe rebuilding our communities by focusing on at-risk children is a significant part of the solution. However, I am not a politician, I don't know everything it will take finally to end the violence. But I do know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified. Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution. We must all stand together — no matter where we are from or the color of our skin. And Hillary is running on the message of hope and unity that we need.
There's still a lot of work to be done in Akron, Northeast Ohio, and all across our great country. We need a president who understands our community and will build on the legacy of President Obama. So let's register to vote, show up to the polls, and vote for Hillary Clinton.
This is an editorial. The opinions and conclusions expressed above are those of the author.
U.S. men's national basketball team forward LeBron James pauses during a media availability before a practice, Sunday, July 15, 2012, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Akron Saint Vincent-Saint Mary's LeBron James celebrates with his mother, Gloria James, Saturday, March 15, 2003, after a win against Ottwa-Glandorf during the Ohio High School Athletic Association Boys' basketball Reginal Tournament in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/J.D. Pooley)
NBA draft candidate LeBron James answers reporters' questions in Chicago, Sunday, June 8, 2003. The Cleveland Cavaliers have said they will take James with the first pick in the NBA draft. (AP Photo/Aynsley Floyd)
LeBron James goes up for layup during the first half of Magic's All-Star Charity Game on Sunday, July 27, 2003 in Los Angeles. James, a 1st round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers, played for the Rookies team against a squad of veterans at Staples Center. The Rookies won 127-123. James had 23 points for the game. (AP Photo/Chris Urso)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives the ball as Miami Heat's Lamar Odum follows in the first quarter Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2003, in Miami. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James grimices in pain as he is attended to by athletic trainer Max Benton during the fourth quarter against the Utah Jazz Saturday, Jan. 17, 2004, in Salt Lake City. James had to leave the game with an injured right ankle.(AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)
U.S. basketball player LeBron James of Cleveland Cavaliers plays with the ball during a U.S. basketball team practice in Cologne, western Germany, Monday Aug. 2, 2004. The U.S. team is preparing for upcoming matches against Italy and Germany and for the Olympics in Athens. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James dives for a loose ball during the second quarter against the Chicago Bulls, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2004, in Chicago. The Bulls won 113-85. (AP Photo/Brian Kersey)
United States' Lebron James reacts after scoring a point during their game against Australia in the basketball preliminary round match at Hellinikon Indoor Arena, Thursday Aug. 19, 2004, at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. U.S. beat Australia 89-79. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) drives around Atlanta Hawks' Antoine Walker during the second quarter Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2005, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James looks on during the third quarter of their game with the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2005, at the Rose Garden, in Portland, Ore. James had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to become the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Trail Blazers 107-101 Wednesday night to send Portland to its fifth straight loss. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
LeBron James holds his left ankle as trainer Max Benton, top, tends to the Cleveland Cavlaiers star after James was injured in the fourth quarter against the Memphis Grizzlies Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2005, in Cleveland. James traveled with his teammates to New York and may play Friday night against the Knicks after further medical tests did not reveal any more damage to his ankle. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James Monday, Oct. 3, 2005, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) looks for a teammate to pass to as New Jersey Nets' Bostjan Nachbar (7), from Slovenia, watches in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2007, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reacts to a shot made by teammate Anderson Varejao during the final seconds of the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 10, 2007, in Milwaukee. The Cavaliers won, 94-92. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James looks at the scoreboard in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards during their first-round NBA playoff basketball game on Sunday, April 30, 2006, in Washington. The Wizards won 106-96. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) dunks in the last second of the first quarter during an NBA basketball game against the New Jersey Nets Thursday, April 12, 2007, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
United States' LeBron James holds the first-place trophy during an award ceremony after a FIBA Americas Championship gold medal basketball game against Argentina at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Sunday, Sept. 2, 2007. USA won the game, 118-81. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James holds up his New York Yankees hat during the fourth inning of Game 1 of an American League Division Series baseball game between the Yankees and Cleveland Indians Thursday, Oct. 4, 2007, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, pressures Boston Celtics forward Paul Pierce, who passes the ball, in the third quarter during their preseason basketball game in Boston, Friday, Oct. 26, 2007. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) creates a cloud of dust after he clapped his powder-coated hands together prior to the team's NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
East All-Star LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers dunks over West All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, bottom right, of the Dallas Mavericks during the fourth quarter of the NBA All-Star Basketball Game Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008, in New Orleans. James was named the game's MVP as the East won 134-128. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James wipes his face during the first half of Game 1 of an NBA Eastern Conference semifinal basketball series against the Boston Celtics in Boston on Tuesday, May 6, 2008. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, second from right, yells at his mother, Gloria, left, who left her seat after a foul on James by Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce, second from left, in the second quarter of Game 4 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference semifinals Monday, May 12, 2008, in Cleveland. Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett is on the right. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Team USA basketball player Lebron James is shown during stretching exercises at practice at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in Beijing Thursday, Aug. 7, 2008. 2008. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James shouts after dunking against the Detroit Pistons in the second half of a first-round NBA playoff basketball game Friday, April 24, 2009, in Auburn Hills, Mich. The Cavaliers defeated the Pistons 79-68 to take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James (23) and Orlando Magic's Dwight Howard tangle under the basket in the first quarter of Game 1 of the NBA Eastern Conference basketball finals Wednesday, May 20, 2009, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, jokes with Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade in the second quarter during an NBA basketball game in Miami, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, middle, is defended by Indiana Pacers guard T.J. Ford, right, and forward Danny Granger during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Friday, Nov. 20, 2009. Cleveland won 105-95. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James reacts during the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 25, 2009, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 102-87. (AP Photo/Lori Shepler)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, right, celebrates with center J.J. Hickson during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons in an NBA basketball game in Auburn Hills, Mich., Tuesday, March 16, 2010. Cleveland won 113-101. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James talks to teammate Anderson Varejao during the first quarter of Game 3 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, April 22, 2010, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LeBron James (6), Dwyane Wade (3) and Chris Bosh (1) show off their Miami Heat jerseys at the American Airlines Arena in Miami Friday July 9, 2010. To the right is Miami Heat owner Micky Arison. (AP Photo/J.Pat Carter)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) drives around Charlotte Bobcats' Nazr Mohammed during the second half of a preseason NBA basketball game in Miami, Monday, Oct. 18, 2010. The Bobcats won 102-96. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James reacts to his dunk against the Phoenix Suns during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
Miami Heat's LeBron James throws powder into the air prior to the team's NBA preseason basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs, Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) works between Atlanta Hawks' Josh Powell, left, and Jamal Crawford in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Monday, April 11, 2011, in Atlanta. Miami won 98-90. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Miami Heat's LeBron James watches his shot through the net during Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Thursday, June 2, 2011, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip; Pool)
Miami Heat's Udonis Haslem, left, and Mario Chalmers, right, check on teammate LeBron James (6) after he took a fall during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns in Miami, Tuesday, March 20, 2012. The Heat defeated the Suns 99-95. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (6) dunks as Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook (0) and Heat's Mario Chalmers (15) watch during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Dec. 25, 2012, in Miami. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) blocks a shot by San Antonio Spurs center Tiago Splitter (22) of Brazil, during the second half of Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball game, Sunday, June 9, 2013 in Miami. The Miami Heat won 103-84. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Miami Heat forward LeBron James (6) is helped from the court by guard Mario Chalmers (15), guard Dwyane Wade (3), Erik Spoelstra, front, right, and Rashard Lewis, right rear, during the second half in Game 1 of the NBA basketball finals on Thursday, June 5, 2014 in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James grabs his head after a foul by the Phoenix Suns during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Phoenix. Looking at James are Matthew Dellavedova (8) and Tristan Thompson (13). (AP Photo/Matt York)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates after end of the overtime period of Game 2 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, June 7, 2015. The Cavaliers won 95-93 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
A wound is seen on the head Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) during the second half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Cleveland, Thursday, June 11, 2015. James was injured in the first half. The Golden State Warriors won 103-82. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) hangs his head during the second half of Game 6 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Cleveland, Tuesday, June 16, 2015. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
NBA player LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, accepts the award for best championship performance at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)