Wednesday, August 26, 2009

For educational inspiration, LeBron or Shaq?

No disrespect intended, but it seems odd to choose LeBron James as co-host of a TV special celebrating the importance in kids' lives of education. James is fabulously rich and maybe the best basketball player of all-time. He also skipped college. Perhaps a sports icon with Intro to Econ under his belt might carry the message with more authority.

The show itself - "Get Schooled" -sounds like a terrific idea. James and singer Kelly Clarkson will be the hosts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an underwriter. During the 30-minute show, the stars will speak about the role education has played in their lives.

James says: "I know first hand how important it is for young people to have role models who can inspire them about the importance of education and help them make good choices that will provide them with the tools to succeed."

No doubt, James has tremendous cred with kids. And for many of those watching, a high school degree is an accomplishment to take great pride in. (Just half the U.S. population has graduated from high school).

But for educational inspiration, I choose Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq left Louisiana State after his junior year to play in the NBA. He vowed to come back to school and complete his degree. Eight years after starting at LSU, he did.

The LeBron and Kelly show airs September 8 simultaneously on MTV, Nickelodeon, BET and 18 other youth-oriented channels.

No comments: