AKRON - LeBron James’ story of success and giving back to his hometown has inspired many. But one man is taking that inspiration to make a difference in the apartment complex where the NBA star once called home.
James called his space on the sixth floor of Spring Hill apartments, “a room where I dreamed.” That dream turned into a reality. James' former home became the inspiration behind SpringHill Entertainment, founded by James and Maverick Carter.
James' story has inspired many, including James Hill of Akron, who is setting out to make a difference in the very place where James called home.
“His greatness, we believe, did not leave. We believe it still exists here," Hill said.
He moved into the apartment building about three months ago. Hill said he’s watched people struggle -- both financially and personally. It’s the reason why he came up with the idea to launch "Spring Hill Awareness Day.” The community event is aimed at giving residents a chance to connect, share ideas, and to simply dream big.
“We believe if we just bring that positive energy back in a large way, we can spawn some more greatness. We believe in the people that live here," Hill said.
The event is still in its planning stages, with a possible launch date in early August. Hill is hoping to create a stage for local talent, entertainment and those who want to share their story with the community.
"Some of the kids here need an example," said Hill. "They need a positive example they can relate to that they know is not going to hurt them, not here to judge them, but simply here because they care and they want what is best for them."
Willie McGee, athletic director at St. Vincent St. Mary High School and former teammate of LeBron James, is familiar with Spring Hill. He said he spent time at the apartment complex with James.
"You knew there were always eyes on you, [the community] always looked out for you, held you accountable for your language and our actions..." said McGee. "I think stuff like that gets lost in a lot of communities."
When McGee heard about the community event, he immediately threw his support behind it.
"To have a community day out there would do a lot for the community and the youth," said McGee. "Giving them some motivation and encouragement and just show the community supports them and try to give them what they need in order to be successful."
The idea to bring a community day to Spring Hill was developed while Hill was involved with the Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Summit County. The team worked on developing programs to make a difference in the community.
Both Hill and McGee were involved in this year's group. McGee and Jerome Moss helped to create this year's "Hoop for Coop" event, giving community members an opportunity to receive free health screenings.
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