No matter the chapter in LeBron James' life, it always circles back to Akron.

The Los Angeles Lakers star was back in his hometown Wednesday afternoon.

And once again, he proved he's "just a kid from Akron" as he grabbed a ball to test out the new outdoor basketball court at the I Promise School that his foundation along with the Akron Public Schools have created to help keep academically at-risk kids in the classrooms and on the path to a high school diploma and hopefully college.

James was joined by some of his teammates from his championship squad at St. Vincent–St. Mary High School, along with his coach, Dru Joyce II, as some of the 343 I Promise students in grades three through five watched in awe.

For James, this is all part of passing on the legacy of the “Fab Five” — the moniker for his high school basketball starters — to a new generation of I Promise school boys and girls.

James, along with Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis, Willie McGee and Sian Cotton, played a quick pickup game against the undersized youngsters from the I Promise School.

The retired Irish players struck first with a James dunk, but the kids held their own — snagging a rebound here and there and even a steal or two.

But in the end, it wasn't enough to stop James and his high school buddies.

"We don't lose," James said at the final basket with a laugh. "We don't lose to anybody."

After a brief huddle, the game's ref declared: "Everybody a winner."

James said it all started for him on an outdoor basketball court in Akron just like the colorful one now open at the I Promise School.

He explained that he was just a kid with a dream who learned to love the game and forged lifelong friendships along the way.

"This [court] is a dream come true," James said.

And a dream did come true Wednesday for young London Riley.

The fourth-grader got to guard her hero: LeBron James.

Not to brag or anything, London said, but she got off two layups against a legend of the game.

"I did good, very good," she said. "I was just happy to see LeBron."

The NBA megastar has done an admirable job of leveraging his celebrity to forge partnerships to help Akron schoolchildren.

The outdoor court at the school on West Market Street in Akron was made possible by the 2K Foundation — the folks behind the popular makers of the NBA 2K video game series.

Alfie Brody of the 2K Foundation said this is the 13th such project nationally, and this one turned out great with a splash of colors and a graffiti-like Akron logo with the LeBron James Family Foundation logo at center court.

"It's pretty surreal to see this all come together," he said.

James also unveiled other new amenities at the school, which has begun its second year and continues to add a grade each year as students progress up their academic path.

Kaulig Companies, which operates a variety of consumer, entertainment, sports and marketing ventures, has paid and built a new media lab where students can get hands-on learning in news, digital and content projects.

The school offers an extended school year and day for those Akron public school students who demonstrate a need at an early age for a more intensive curriculum to grow academically.

Another area of the school has been set aside as the Family Training Center, where disruptive students can work one-on-one with an intervention specialist.

The school has also added the Believers’ Bend, an area where students can reflect and learn about some of history’s most iconic males and females.

The Family Resource Wing now offers a classroom for parents to work toward their GEDs, the Happy Happy Market for food and essentials, the full-service laundry Loads of Love and Roo Rooms for University of Akron students studying to be educators and principals.

The basketball courts and other amenities are all just part of a bigger picture.

And that is to change the lives of Akron's youths one kid at a time, said school intervention specialist Angel Whorton.

"This is more than just a basketball court," she said. "This is a place where kids can run, jump, play and dream."

Craig Webb can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com.