CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James crossed the Canadian border to dish out an All-Star assist.
The Cavaliers forward surprised school kids in Toronto by giving them new team uniforms on Thursday, a giveaway sponsored by James' family foundation as a way of thanking this year's host city for the NBA All-Star game.
The new uniforms for 23 teams from a variety of sports, including basketball, badminton, cricket, ultimate Frisbee, rugby and a special needs group, were unveiled during a fashion show at Earl Haig Secondary School. The teams from across the city were chosen by the LeBron James Family Foundation as a reward for sportsmanship and leadership.
James also brought student "ambassadors" from Ohio to assist in the giveaway and to volunteer for a day at Variety Village, an organization in Toronto providing programs to help disabled youngsters. The 23 Ohio students had never been out of the United States. The group was scheduled to see a play at the historic Royal Alexandra Theatre and a visit with James at practice.
James, who is a father of three, has done similar events at previous All-Star games.
"It means a lot to me and my foundation to be able to give back to every All-Star city, and in Toronto we wanted to do something special for some teams and groups that earned it," he said.
This is his 12th All-Star game and on Wednesday night, with fellow All-Star Kobe Bryant in town to play his final game in Cleveland, James reflected on a career beginning its descent.
James remembered sitting home as a kid and watching Bryant participate in the 1997 All-Star game dunk contest in Cleveland. James is now 31, no longer the up-and-comer but an established veteran and iconic player who will one day turn the game over to the next generation.
"It's funny sometimes when you look at the box scores or even the notes before the games and you see guys born in like the mid-90s," he said. "Born in '96? I was like golly, born in '96 and you guys are in our league?"