LeBron James may not be dazzling fans with his incredible skill on the court because of the COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down the NBA, but once again the Lakers forward is giving people something to cheer.
On May 16, The LeBron James Family Foundation, along with the XQ Institute and the Entertainment Institution Foundation, will present “Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020,” a prime-time event set to air across myriad TV and streaming platforms. The special will include appearances by James, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafazi and U.S. women’s soccer star Megan Rapinoe, and musical performances by Bad Bunnie, the Jonas Brothers and Pharrell Williams.
“It’s been a hard few months for all of us, but I especially really feel for the senior class of 2020,” James said Wednesday in a statement provided to ESPN. “The end of high school and graduation was one of the best memories of my life. It’s not fair. Every graduating senior needs to know how much we feel for them and hopefully this can help, even a little. This class is going to be special because they know in a real way how to persevere.”
The special will be simulcast on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC and streamed on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, TikTok and other services.
James has long been a proponent of education; he opened his own “I Promise” school in his hometown, Akron, Ohio, in 2018.
“We learned early on in our work with students and families in Akron that education is so much more than academics,” James said in a statement. “It’s about shared experience, a journey we’re all on together — students, parents, educators, community members, and everyone around them. With that not being possible right now, we’ve been working to find ways to help families get through this really difficult time.
“These students have worked incredibly hard for this, and there’s no way we can let that go unrecognized. While this won’t be the graduation experience they were supposed to get, we hope we can still give them something special because they deserve it.”