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Famous athletes who give back to their old communities

Author: Richard Giles
Copyrights: Wikimedia commons

Famous athletes who give back to their old communities

Players who make it to the top of their sport are very well compensated these days. For some, they have more money than they know what to do with. Many give back, and one of the first places they think of is their old community.

There is an "early years" story for every athlete. They were once just another kid playing youth sports. They relied on others contributing to the league, supporting young athletes during their formative years.

So who are the famous athletes doing the most right now to give back? Here is a look at three athletes at the top of their sport who have made a huge difference.

LeBron James

The NBA superstar grew up in subsidised housing in the projects of Akron, Ohio. He grew up in youth sports thanks to the support of his mother, closest friends, and their families. Those kids who would face similar situations now? They have full support from James himself.

It's hard to find a kid in Akron who has not felt some impact from James. He opened a school last year for underprivileged youth, with sports teams provided for extra-curricular activities. He still gives back to his alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary, as well.

While he encourages youth sports, he strives to ensure kids know it is not the only way out of a less than ideal situation. That's why he couples education with so much of his youth sports support.

JJ Watt

There are a lot of generous players in the NFL, but JJ Watt consistently proves that he has one of the biggest philanthropic hearts in the game. Not only is he big on giving back to his home (suburban Milwaukee), but he is an honorary Houstonian since joining the team in 2011.

Watt's giving to youth sports, and in general, for that matter, was pretty low-key until Hurricane Harvey hit the Houston area in 2017. He became one of the faces of the recovery process.

His charity, the Justin J. Watt Foundation, has provided after school activities kids from all backgrounds can enjoy. He has contributed to rebuilding parks in Houston, and develop better youth sports programmes in Milwaukee that are more inclusive.

Cristiano Ronaldo

It's not always publicly talked about, especially in the United States, but Cristiano Ronaldo consistently ranks as one of the most charitable athletes in the world. He gives back to many organisations, but he has always had a soft spot for local communities and youth sports.

Growing up in Santo António, Funchal, Ronaldo started playing with CF Andorinha in 1992. He continues to support youth players in that organisation, but also in his region at all levels. 

No matter what club he plays for, he has shown eagerness to get involved locally with the youth as well. He understands the reach he has as a player, and just how many areas around the globe don't have the essentials to enjoy the game of soccer. He has had a hand in building several fields, providing uniforms and gear and growing the game at the youth level.

 

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019 - 12:00