Published February 22, 2011
In a society saturated by hyper-sexualized magazine covers, teen pregnancy-related reality television shows and R-rated movies, it’s a refreshing change to hear NBA superstar LeBron James using his stardom and production company to empower youngsters with positive, uplifting messages.
“(As a father) it's very important to me to empower kids with strong messages, but kids were important to me before I had my first child. Yet since I've had my two kids, one is six and one is three, it means even more to me,” James told FOX411’s Pop Tarts at the launch party for "The LeBrons", the upcoming new animated Web series to soon be debuted by the Miami Heat star through his production company Spring Hill Productions and New York-based digital entertainment company Believe Entertainment Group. “I see them every day and I see the life lessons that need to be instilled in them every day to continue to grow. It's unbelievable to see what I can do with my power and be able to give back to these kids.”
Originally inspired by a series of Nike television commercials starring James, “The LeBrons” is a family-friendly entertainment program featuring four central characters – Kid, Wise, Business and Athlete. The show seeks to relay messages of optimism and hope to today’s youth and tackle an array of important issues including friendship, staying in school, serving the community, teamwork, healthy living and even the stresses of family situations.
“The most important lesson my mother taught me was to just stay strong,” James, who was raised by a single mom, said. “No matter what's going on in life, just stay strong and believe in the man above.”
So what was the biggest challenge the now 26-year-old faced in his own childhood?
“Moving from place to place in my hometown and not having any stability. It took a while for me to get that but once I got it, it was smooth sailing,” he continued. “I think understanding life lessons, there is a difference between right and wrong, and building friendships, understanding how important school is, things like that.
“There are so many statistics out there with kids dropping out of school and being obese, so we're going to have a lot of those messages in this cartoon. As statistics keep getting thrown out, we will continue to put them in these webisodes so kids can understand and learn from them.”
But for anyone that may be concerned James is going to stop bouncing the ball and head to Hollywood for good – fear not.
“No! No! No! What I do on the court, I'm passionate about that,” he added. “I have a lot of goals that I haven't accomplished yet on the basketball court, so until I do that, and until I continue to do other things on the court, I don't think anything will be able to rank above that.”
Deidre Behar contributed to this report.