Published April 15, 2013
MIAMI – Savannah Brinson is about to marry someone who's widely considered the best basketball player in the world, which means the level of privacy she's always craved will surely continue to erode.
And after years of fighting that, she has decided to embrace it as reality.
Brinson — better known as the fiancée of Miami Heat star LeBron James — is starting to step more into the public eye now, with hopes that whatever level of celebrity she has can be a tool to help children who need some assistance. Her first step in that endeavor was helping to provide prom dresses for about 100 underprivileged girls in her current home of Miami and her hometown of Akron, Ohio, doing so at a pair of events in recent days.
"I can't imagine being in their situation and not have somebody help," said Brinson, whose wedding is scheduled for this summer. "I really care. It's really in my soul to help people, and this is the first baby to come from it. There comes a time when you have to give back."
Ever since James came to Miami in July 2010, Brinson has largely shunned the spotlight, even though her longtime partner — she and the three-time NBA MVP have two sons together and were high school sweethearts — has encouraged her to be as visible as she wants.
So in recent weeks, very quietly, she's starting to step out. And James remains all for that.
"I just think she has a knack for being powerful," James said. "Women are more powerful than men. Her voice and her being my sidekick, her voice is very powerful, especially to these young women who are underprivileged."
At both the events in Miami and Akron, Brinson talked to the girls about her experiences growing up, how her prom night started off as a disaster — bad hair night, thanks to an overzealous stylist who ignored her wishes — and how just about any challenge can be overcome.
The girls are typically star-struck, and the group in Miami squealed in delight when James made an unannounced appearance. But shortly after he arrived, plenty of the teens surrounded Brinson again, hanging on her every word while her fiancé was, for once, not the marquee attraction.
"It's been a long time coming for her," James said. "She's wanted to do something like this for a while, and for this to come together now, she's happy. You can see the smile on her face."
There have been plenty of times that Brinson has been bothered by attention, particularly when stories come out that simply aren't true. For the longest time, her answer was to simply try to keep avoiding the spotlight.
Her approach is starting to change.
"I've heard things about me that are bad, where they've literally looked up into the sky and said, 'What can they say about Savannah?' It's going to happen," Brinson said. "People will say I'm doing this for attention and now that I'm getting married, I'm coming out from behind his shadow, but I just thought it was time. I'm letting these girls know that I'm confident, showing them my personal growth, and maybe it will help them as well."