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.
File photo of high school basketball star LeBron James getting set for
a foul shot during the annual Jordan Capital Classic high school
all-star game in Washington, April 17, 2003. James will hold a press
conference at his high shool in Akron, Ohio April 25, 2003, where he is
expected to state his intentions concerning the upcoming NBA draft.
James is expected to be the number one pick should he make himself
available for the draft. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn-Files
Lebron James announces his entrance into the NBA draft, during a press
conference at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, April
25, 2003. The six-foot-eight James, 18, is expected by many to be the
number one selection in the draft on June 26. REUTERS/Jason Cohn
LeBron James (R) shakes hands with National Basketball Association
Commissioner David Stern after being selected by the Cleveland
Cavaliers as the first pick in the 2003 NBA Draft at Madison Square
Garden in New York, June 26, 2003. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Cleveland Cavaliers first draft pick LeBron James speaks with reporters
following a picture session at Gund Arena, in Cleveland, October 2,
2003. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz
Cleveland Cavalier rookie forward LeBron James (23) shoots over New Orleans Hornets defenders Baron Davis (1) and David Wesley (4), in the fourth period of NBA action in Cleveland, Ohio, December 23, 2003. James 22 points was the high scorer for the Cavaliers who defeated the Hornets 97-86. REUTERS/Marc Serota MS
Paul Pierce (R) of the Boston Celtics and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers chat while the scoreboard is fixed during the fourth quarter of their game at Gund Arena, February 9, 2004. The Cavaliers won, 97-89. REUTERS/Ron Kuntz RK
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (C) gets a layup as Seattle Supersonics forward Rashad Lewis (L) and Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki look on, during the first half of the 54th NBA All-Star Game in Denver, February 20, 2005. REUTERS/John Gress JM
Eastern Conference forward LeBron James holds the Most Valuable Player trophy at the 55th NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas February 19, 2006. The East defeated the Western Conference 122-120. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James questions a call during their NBA playoff game against the Washington Wizards in Washington May 5, 2006 Cleveland defeated Washington, 114-113, to advance in the NBA playoffs. REUTERS/Gary Cameron
Forward LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, works on his jump shot at morning practice during the first day of training camp for the USA men's basketball team in Las Vegas July 19, 2006. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots over New York Knicks forward Quentin Richardson (L) and guard Stephon Marbury (R) in the fourth quarter of their NBA basketball game in New York's Madison Square Garden, November 13, 2006. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James is seen on the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, California, February 15, 2007. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James goes through his pregame powder ritual prior to the start of Game 2 of their Eastern Conference first round NBA playoff basketball game in Cleveland, Ohio April 25, 2007. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James answers media questions before practice for their NBA Finals basketball series against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Texas, June 8, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (L) celebrates after dunking against the New Orleans Hornets David West during the NBA All-Star basketball game in New Orleans, Louisiana February 17, 2008. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James (L) is guarded by Chicago Bulls Thabo Sefolosha (R) during the first quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland, April 3, 2008. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James drives to the basket during the third quarter of their NBA basketball game in Cleveland January 9, 2009. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers Lebron James sits with his girlfriend Savana Brinson and son Bryce Maximus during the Rookie Challenge at the NBA All-Star basketball weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, February 13, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James speaks after being named the NBA Most Valuable Player during a ceremony at his alma mater St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio May 4, 2009. REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James celebrates after Mario Chalmers scored a three pointer against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, December 25, 2010. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James (R) stands with Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade during Game 5 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Dallas, June 9, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James watches a shot against the Dallas Mavericks through the net during the second half in Game 2 of the NBA Finals basketball series in Miami, June 2, 2011. REUTERS/David J. Phillip/Pool (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James dunks against the Washington Wizards in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Miami, Florida December 15, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Miami Heat's LeBron James speaks at a press conference after his team defeated the San Antonio Spurs in Game 7 of their NBA Finals basketball playoff in Miami, Florida June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Dec 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) makes a pass against the Brooklyn Nets during the second quarter at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James wears an " I Can't Breathe" t-shirt during warm ups prior to the game against the Brooklyn Nets in Brooklyn, New York, December 8, 2014. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
June 14, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James speaks to media following the 104-91 loss against the Golden State Warriors in game five of the NBA Finals. at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 19, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy after beating the Golden State Warriors in game seven of the NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 21: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers pauses on the court during the second half against the San Antonio Spurs at Quicken Loans Arena on January 21, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Spurs defeated the Cavaliers 118-115. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)