*Michelle Obama and LeBron James stood side by side in the NBA star’s hometown of Akron, Ohio on Wednesday as proof to kids that dreams do come true.
“If we can be here,” the first lady said as she addressed a crowd of school kids and their parents, “we know you can be here, too.”
The two appeared at an event to celebrate the importance of education and to challenge thousands of children in the LeBron James Family Foundation programs to finish college.
The crowd of roughly 2,500 watched videos explaining the importance of earning a college degree. James and Obama took the stage together inside the University of Akron’s Rhodes Arena, a venue where the four-time league MVP played many times while in high school.
Obama pointed out to the children and their parents that she and James were from humble beginnings.
“We don’t come from places where families had a lot of money or a lot of resources,” she said.
Obama then turned toward James, who wore a blue T-shirt with “We Are Family” – one of his foundation’s slogans – on the front and reminded the kids that he was once one of them.
“LeBron is investing so much in you guys because he knows that you’re worth it,” she said.
During the summer, James announced a partnership with the university to provide free four-year educations to city students who qualify. Obama praised James for those efforts and reminded the kids they are being given a unique opportunity.
“It’s on you,” she said. “You’ve got college paid for. Are you going to do the work to get there?”
The crowd erupted with a resounding “Yes.”
Obama recently launched her Reach Higher public awareness campaign to encourage students to aim higher than just a high school diploma. She expanded it this week by announcing the start of Better Make Room, a project to motivate youths from age 14 to 19 to complete their education past high school.
James, who bypassed college by going straight to the pros, was joined at the event by his wife, Savannah, and their three children.