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LeBron didn’t ‘shut up and dribble’

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I Promise School Grand Opening Celebration With LeBron James Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

LeBron James will not “shut up and dribble.” Thank goodness.

LeBron, his foundation, and Akron Public Schools opened up a joint venture in James’ hometown on Monday. Dubbed the I Promise School, it’s a special public school that offers at-risk kids additional support on top of an enhanced education. It’s designed to provide “wraparound support” for kids who, for whatever reason, need it. James Dator has a full explainer here.

LeBron, who didn’t have a press conference when signing with the Lakers earlier in July, brought hordes of media out to Akron to talk about public education. So even beyond the school itself — a monumental, Herculean effort — he’s bringing attention to an issue close to his heart on a wide, wide scale. (And according to the education experts I trust, the school appears to be designed in the best possible way.)

There are not enough kudos for what LeBron has done here. What an example he’s set for other star athletes. How involved he’s been in this project and the pride he exhibits should inspire similar efforts.

LeBron told CNN that the Trayvon Martin shooting “flipped a switch” in terms of personal activism. He also gave a great quote about sports as a uniting force. He talked to Rachel Nichols about his goals for the Lakers. LeBron on what he’s doing, in his own words for Uninterrupted. And finally, Brian Windhorst on LeBron’s legacy in Northeast Ohio, with and without a basketball.

Mark your calendar

I previewed 2019 NBA free agency by ranking the top 19 potential free agents 11 months out. It’s a strong, deep list starring Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins, and more. When you figure that many teams will have goodly amounts of cap space, it has high potential for a wild summer ... again ... for like the fourth year in a row.

Durant is the key. If he decides three championships with the Warriors are enough, he totally shakes up everything by leaving just by making Golden State more vulnerable to say nothing of the team he’d join. He’s going to have so much power next summer.

Links galore

Everything you need to know to catch up with the hilarious Kevin Durant-C.J. McCollum quasi-feud. I will never stop laughing at “I just did your f’n podcast” jokes.

I mentioned Durant’s particular power in 2019 free agency. Note that he was very effusive in his praise of LeBron’s decision to go to the Lakers.

Dwyane Wade remains mum on whether he’ll be back in the NBA next season.

Natalie Weiner on the surrealism of having LeBron at your basketball tournament. Ricky O’Donnell collects the best of LeBron, Sports Dad (including LeBron dunking in his kid’s team’s lay-up line). Ricky O also tells you everything you need to know about Bronny James, already a superstar on the circuit as a 13-year-old.

Matt Ellentuck has seven reasons there’s never been a better time to leap into WNBA fandom. At all-star over the weekend, Allie Quigley put up the best three-point shootout round ever in WNBA or NBA history. WNBA stars had some extraordinary sneaker choices for the All-Star Game. Liz Cambage finished the game with a dunk. Candace Parker’s team won.

Paul George explains why he didn’t even take a meeting with the Lakers.

Clint Capela signed with the Rockets for $90 million over five years. Just before that happened Friday, I wrote that unless he was going to take the qualifying offer, the Rockets were Capela’s only option left.

Ben Falk has a plan for how the NBA can end the age minimum while addressing issues that led to its creation in the first place.

Is it time to trade Marc Gasol?

An analytic assessment as to whether the Warriors ruined the NBA.

Jerry Colangelo will be leaving the Sixers when his contract expires. What a disaster that was ... despite the team winning 51 games!

Zach Lowe on the supermax contract and the cost of loyalty.

You’ll be able to create a female player in NBA Live this year.

Yes, Dwight Howard and Carmelo Anthony will be in the Hall of Fame.

Projecting the Celtics’ future luxury tax pain.

Melo’s mad.

The Wizards tweeted a John Wall photo so bad they had to delete it.

Kyrie Irving dealt with a particularly nasty infection during injury recovery.

Is LaVar Ball’s JBA really what’s best for LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball? Does it matter?

David Aldridge calls Dwight’s deal with the Wizards a “marriage of convenience” and that’s so perfect.

Jesse Washington’s love letter to July high school hoops.

And finally: Carmelo Anthony speaks out about the failure to protect and aid Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

Be excellent to each other.

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