LeBron James leads cause vs. dropouts

Updated: March 16, 2011, 9:42 PM ET
Associated Press

MIAMI -- LeBron James studies statistics all the time. One in particular is jumping out at him these days.

And it has nothing to do with basketball.

James will help lead a new stay-in-school initiative being unveiled in Washington on Monday called "26 Seconds," a reference to how often studies show a high school student drops out of school. The project is sponsored by State Farm, the insurance company with whom James has had a business relationship with for many years.

James
James

"First of all, '26 Seconds' is basically an initiative behind kids staying in school," James said Wednesday on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski's weekly show on SiriusXM. "Every 26 seconds a kid drops out of school and that's not good. I think in America, we all know when kids graduate, they have a better future in life."

In a separate interview Wednesday before his Miami Heat hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder, James later said he was "blown away" by the dropout-rate numbers.

"It's a staggering statistic," James said. "You would never think in your wildest dreams something like that happens. So it was a no-brainer for me to be part of it."

James has an interest in several projects involving children's causes, including work with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Many of his efforts put a premium on education.

"It's basically kids getting parents aware of the situation," James said on Krzyzewski's show, 'Basketball and Beyond with Coach K.' "Kids with no education is not how it should be. Every kid should have the opportunity to have an education and we're going to make sure we pinpoint those certain situations in whatever community it is to make it a huge awareness in people's lives."

James and Krzyzewski discussed several other things in a 5-minute interview, including how the Heat are getting ready for the playoffs -- and how Krzyzewski's Duke club is prepping for the postseason as well. Injured point guard Kyrie Irving, one of the nation's top players, may return for the Blue Devils' West Regional opener against 16th-seeded Hampton on Friday in Charlotte.

"I love Kyrie. He's a great kid," James said. "I talk to him all the time, coach, just keeping his spirits high."

Krzyzewski, who coached James and his Heat teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the U.S. gold-medal-winning team at the Beijing Olympics, also took the opportunity to subtly sneak in a reminder that the 2012 London Games are fast approaching.

"I'm always recruiting," Krzyzewski told James. "We had you for the last Olympics. Don't fail me now and not be there in London with me."

Replied James, who said on Nov. 4 that if Krzyzewski wants him, he'd be there for the London Games: "I hear you, Coach."


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press