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Brains and Basketball- Athletes Use Sport as a Tool for Outreach

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May 15, 2012 03:54 pm


Over the last year, basketball legends have stepped to the forefront of encouraging young people to complete their high school education and strive for academic success.

Lebron James, of the Miami Heat, and recently named the Most Valuable Player for the 2012 NBA season, has lent his voice and name to join forces with State Farm and Education Nation to support the 26 seconds campaign. Every 26 seconds, a student drops out of high school and with that student goes a potential contributor to the American workforce. The Alliance for Excellent Education has also released data on the impact high school dropouts pose to local, state, and the national economy.

Lebron James, who opted out of attending college to play in the NBA, has made high school graduation a key initiative in his community outreach. During the 2012 NBA playoffs, a high ratings time for youth, viewers will now see a 30-second commercial voiced by James reiterating the importance of staying in school and earning a diploma. You can view the commercial above.

Although he’s not a basketball legend, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also drew attention to the 26 Seconds campaign at the celebrity basketball game during the NBA All-Star weekend. Take a look at our previous post on his appearance. With both Secretary Duncan and President Barack Obama being avid basketball followers, the administration seeks use the game as a tool to keep kids in school.

Additionally, former Orlando Magic and L.A. Laker, Shaquille O’Neal has a new title to add to his collection. Along with being a former MVP and 4-time NBA champion, O’Neal is now a doctor. The 7’1” retired center earned his Ed.D. in Human Resource Development from Barry University earlier this month. In a special interview with CNN’s Schools of Thought to commemorate Teacher Appreciation Week, O’Neal spoke on his passion for education and the influential teachers in his life. O’Neal seeks to use his celebrity to reach out to today’s youth, stressing to them the importance of continuing their education and striving to succeed. Check out his interview below.

To learn more about the Alliance for Excellent Education’s work on boosting graduation rates, click here .


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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.