LeBron James’ high school gym reopens

The Heat star donated $1M to his high school for renovation of their gym, is there a hidden meaning?


The LeBron James Arena in Akron, Ohio

St. Vincent-St. Mary’s gym, LeBron James’ high school home court, has reopened for play after recently being closed for construction.

This isn’t just any regular high school gym, it will now be considered one of the best places to play a high school basketball game in Ohio and maybe even the nation, almost everything in it being state-of-the-art. Why? Because LeBron donated $1M last year to completely redo the arena.

His donation helped SVSM strip the whole gym and completely renovate it. New hardwood flooring, bleachers, branded scoreboards, lighting, new locker rooms and all new sports equipment were all bought with James’ help over the past year.

The arena also features a 3-D timeline of James’ personal history. It takes the fans through his teenage years in Akron, to his days in Cleveland, and his most recent times at Miami.

“The people at St. Vincent-St. Mary helped me grow as a person and as a basketball player,” James said in a news release. “This is my way of thanking them and helping future generations of Irish athletes also be proud of where they came from.”

The reopening ceremony included four games, the varsity and junior varsity teams played for both the boys and the girls. Gloria James, LeBron’s mom, along with Couch Dru Joyce, LeBron’s high school coach, were in attendance as they had the honor of cutting the ribbon for the official reopening.

The gym has been renamed “LeBron James Arena”.

LeBron James' high school starting five
James’ high school teammates

The LeBron James Arena donation has only added to the fire of the debate on whether James will be returning to Cleveland next season.

LeBron has obviously shown he has not forgotten where he came from. Often times during interviews he mentions his hometown and state saying he loves visiting, he even accepted his 2009 MVP award in his high school auditorium. He also has a 30,000 square foot mansion still in Akron. If he decides to sign back with Cleveland, he’ll be in the state  he loves and where he grew up. If he wants to he will be able to take a short drive to his mansion and drive over and catch a game in the LeBron James Arena.

The Cavs’ players themselves may be the strongest asset for the four time MVP’s return. The Cavs plummeted at first when LeBron left becoming a little below average team. But since then they’ve improved every year. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland’s point guard, is in his second year and is already averaging 20.9 points a game and he is not prone to being selfish, dishing out 5.8 assists per game.

The Miami Heat is the oldest team in the NBA with an average age of 30.7 years; that being said, their dominance can only last so long until their age catches up. Behind Irving and the other young gun Tristan Thompson, LeBron would have many developing players to count on in the years to come. With James, Irving, and Thompson on the court at the same time, every team would be worried.

Others look at the fan base in Cleveland who say they don’t “want” LeBron back. That is a ridiculous claim; the fans in Cleveland are one of the strongest fan bases in any professional sport. The fans stand by their teams through thick and thin. LeBron brought them to fame, and he could bring them back again. When Cleveland’s winning, Cleveland’s happy. Yes, some fans will have some hard feelings for him if he comes back, but most will welcome him with open arms like the father of the Prodigal Son.

No one knows what will happen next season with LeBron on his choice to stay or go. But one thing is certain, with all the fame and fortune his basketball talent has brought him, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from – St. Vincent-St. Mary’s in Akron, Ohio.