LeBron James helps coordinate events
MIAMI -- LeBron James will have his hometowns in mind for the holidays -- his new one and his old one.
The Akron, Ohio, native is coordinating the distribution of 700 Thanksgiving dinners next week to needy families from the city where he grew up. James won't be present for the actual delivery of the meals because of Miami Heat games, though his mother and girlfriend will be attending the events.
It's a Thanksgiving with all the trimmings: turkey, yams, greens, vegetables, stuffing, cranberry sauce and more.
"I've always said when I was growing up, being in a small city like Akron, that if I ever became successful or was ever blessed enough to give back to the community, I'll always do that," James said before the Heat faced the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night. "Especially around holiday times, when you're supposed to be with your family."
The holiday season is already in full swing for the Heat: James also took part in a Thanksgiving-meal giveaway in Miami on Tuesday with All-Star teammate Dwyane Wade and other members of the organization, and several other Heat players have events scheduled to help less-fortunate families in the coming weeks.
The NBA's two-time reigning MVP did many similar holiday events -- dinners, grocery giveaways and the like -- over his first seven NBA seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers through his LeBron James Family Foundation.
"For me to be able to give back to my hometown, I wish I could be present, but it's great for me," James said.
James said he's overseeing next week's Akron events from afar. The families chosen to be part of the Thanksgiving giveaway are connected to the Urban League and the Akron Public School system.
"Even though I'm not going to be there, I was on all the calls and making sure everything is ran right," James said. "I mean, it's not like I'm a rookie to the whole situation. I kind of know what needs to be done."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press