A new museum dedicated to basketball star LeBron James opened this month in the athlete’s hometown of Akron, Ohio.
The immersive museum—called LeBron James’ Home Court—explores the NBA star’s upbringing, career and many accomplishments, both on and off the court. The LeBron James Family Foundation runs the venue.
When museum-goers first enter the space, staffers hand them a key on a string, similar to the one James carried around as a kid growing up in Akron in the late 1980s and 1990s. Guests can use the key to open a door bearing the number “602.”
Once inside, visitors will find a replica of James’ childhood apartment, including his bedroom, which is decked out with sneakers, sports posters, trophies and a stereo perched on milk crates. Some items, including the TV and computer, used to belong to James, while others were sourced elsewhere, reports Cleveland Magazine’s Danny Cunningham.
From there, visitors can learn about James’ time at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School by wandering through a replica of the school’s basketball locker room. Also on display is a piece of the high school’s basketball court, as well as many of James’ high school trophies and jerseys.
Next, the story shifts to James’ professional career. Museum-goers can see the white suit James wore at the 2003 NBA Draft, during which the Cleveland Cavaliers selected James as the number one overall pick. The museum also has many artifacts from his first stint with the Cavaliers, including photos, newspapers, uniforms and sneakers.
Another room explores his personal life and his off-the-court professional endeavors. It features photos of his family and screens playing some of the movies, series and audio projects he’s helped produce.
The museum also highlights his philanthropic initiatives, including his education program, I PROMISE. Proceeds from the museum’s ticket sales will make their way back to the program via the foundation.
“Having this museum here is part of that whole legacy and that journey of making a better life and using his platform to do more and better for others,” says Michelle Campbell, executive director of the LeBron James Family Foundation, to Spectrum News 1’s Wiley Jawhary.
James was in town for the museum’s opening, as the Lakers played the Cavaliers in Cleveland over the weekend. According to the Akron Beacon Journal’s George M. Thomas, he even took his Lakers teammates on a tour of the new venue.
He also acknowledged that, without the foresight of his mother, Gloria James, the museum wouldn’t be nearly as robust.
“I used to get on my mom a lot about saving everything since I was like starting first playing sports,” James told ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “And she kind of threw it back in my face ... because a lot of the [items] in there is because of the stuff that she saved. And that’s pretty cool.”