May 16, 2020
LeBron James Commencement Speech Transcript to High School Seniors
LeBron James hosted a televised event called “Graduate Together” for graduating high school seniors in 2020. Read his commencement address to the graduates here.
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Opening Statement Transcript
LeBron James: (00:01)
Seniors, tonight is for you. Tonight we honor 12 years of your hard work, the studying, the tests, early mornings and late nights. And we honor everyone who got you here. Your friends, your family, your community. Class of 2020, this is for you. Every student you see, the videos in our show, the pictures you see around me now are all part of your graduation class and sent in by you guys. Before we get to the show, there’s something I want to say to each of you. Thank you. You should have had a real graduation. I know. You should have had an incredible senior year. I know that as well, but you made a sacrifice and you did that to keep your community safe and healthy. On behalf of all of us, thank you. There is no doubt in my mind that the class of 2020 is going to be something really special. After all this, you guys are prepared for anything. So celebrate. Be proud. Tonight is for you. We are all ready for the class of 2020 to change the world. Congratulations.
Commencement Speech Transcript
LeBron James: (00:00)
Tonight we are celebrating the class of 2020. Every family in America experiencing the critical role our schools and charities play in our lives and what happens when they shut down. In our poorest neighborhoods, schools are about much more than learning. In places like Akron, Ohio, schools are the most essential service. It may be the only place that supports you, the only place to protect you, and for many, the only place that feeds you.1 Our schools are our safety net. Our people build our communities. To the class of 2020: as you celebrate tonight, do not forget your safety net. Every teacher, every coach, every pastor, they along with your friends and family got you to this moment.
LeBron James: (00:41)
And now it is time to go to a new place. It is time to chase every dream, accept every challenge, strive for greatness, honor every promise, and recommit to your community. I know that’s the last thing you want to think about right now in a place you’ve been sitting in for the last two months, really, I mean, the last 18 years for you guys, but it’s the truth. The community needs you. And when I say to the community, I mean your rec league, your church, your youth group, and most of all, your school. They need you. Most importantly, building your community is how you change the world.
LeBron James: (01:20)
Unfortunately, the system does not solve the real problem. Education, violence, racism, they must be solved in the street. Class of 2020, I know the last thing you want to hear right now is stay home. That’s not my message to you. My message is stay close to home. Maybe not physically, but in every other way possible. Pursue every ambition, go as far as you possibly can dream, and be the first generation to embrace a new responsibility, a responsibility to rebuild your community. Class of 2020, the world has changed. You will determine how we rebuild, and I ask that you make your community your priority. Congratulations, class of 2020. I love all of you, and remember one thing: you’re all kings and queens.