Wheaties announced today that LeBron James will be the next athlete to adorn the cover of the iconic orange box. James takes over the cover from Serena Williams, both of whom were named Associated Press Athletes of the Decade earlier this year. James will continue Wheaties’ 85 year-run of featuring sports champions on the collectible boxes.
The box looks a little different this time. Alongside James is a collage of kids and families from the LeBron James Family Foundation’s transformational I PROMISE program in Akron, Ohio. The wraparound image includes students and staff from the I PROMISE School, the groundbreaking Akron Public School opened by James and the Foundation in 2018 that serves the district’s most at-risk students and their entire families. The school and the Foundation’s comprehensive programming have redefined the community of Akron and is a testament that James has never forgotten where he came from. No matter how much on court success he has had, his legacy is much bigger than basketball.
“We all know LeBron James for his record-breaking basketball career, but his achievements off the court truly set him apart,” said Taylor Gessell, brand experience manager for Wheaties. “From starting the LeBron James Family Foundation, to boldly speaking out on racial injustice, to launching the I PROMISE School – LeBron is a champion of change who is using his sports platform to better the world. We couldn’t be prouder to feature such a positive force of inspiration for the next generation of champions on Wheaties’ historic box.”
James grew up in Akron, Ohio, where he leaned on his family, friends and community to lift him up when times were tough. He was a standout high school player for St. Vincent-St. Mary before being drafted as the #1 overall pick. James has gone on to win three Championships, four league MVPs. He currently stands as the 3rd all-time points leader and he can now add Wheaties Champion to the list.
“Growing up where we come from, to see my I PROMISE kids and families from Akron, Ohio, represented on the iconic Wheaties box means everything,” said James. “The movement we’ve started in Akron is about doing our part to uplift our community by first listening and then responding with the resources they need. We will continue to do everything we can to create a better future for our kids and our community, and it starts with the students, teachers, and everyday champions you see on this box.”
In 2004, James, who proudly refers to himself as “just a kid from Akron,” started the LeBron James Family Foundation to give back to the same community that changed his life. LJFF started by organizing community events and in 2011, refocused its efforts on education. In 2018, LJFF opened the I PROMISE School, dedicated to giving Akron’s most challenged kids the resources and support they need to excel in school and beyond. With its Family Resource Center, the Foundation eliminates barriers families face with access to job support, legal aid, healthcare, GED classes, financial literacy programs, and an onsite food pantry. For those experiencing homelessness, the Foundation opened the I PROMISE Village to provide transitional housing. LJFF has also guaranteed tuition to The University of Akron or Kent State University for every eligible I PROMISE graduate. James and his Foundation have started a movement that is transforming the future for thousands of Akron families.
“Having our students, families and educators on the Wheaties box alongside LeBron is pretty powerful, and it illustrates that deep and meaningful work cannot be done alone,” said Michele Campbell, Executive Director of the LeBron James Family Foundation. “It takes an entire community to truly rally around those that need it most, and it takes a lot of passion and hard work. But it can be done, and we’re humbled to continue pushing the envelope on what’s possible for these families and all communities across the country.”
The limited-edition LeBron James and I PROMISE Wheaties box will be sold on www.Shop.Wheaties.com now and will roll out on store shelves in the U.S. in the next several weeks.
Featured photo: Wheaties