August 21, 2002 at 5:45 PM EST - Updated July 12 at 4:12 AM
AKRON, Ohio (AP) - High school basketball star LeBron James will distribute bookmarks to 600 Akron students in an effort to inspire them to learn.
The bookmarks feature James' photo, the slogan "Education then Athletics" and are signed, "King James."
They read: "My achievements in basketball have made me famous, but if I didn't do the work in the classroom you would never know who I am."
Earlier this year, James appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the headline "The Chosen One." The two-time Ohio Mr. Basketball will be a senior at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary this fall and is expected to be a top NBA draft pick if he decides to skip college.
James (pictured, above) said he understands that he's emerging as a role model and accepts the responsibility.
"I'm just trying to be positive. I hope this will impact the kids a lot because education is important," said James, who has a 3.0 grade-point average.
James will be at an Akron community center on Friday when the bookmarks are distributed.
His mentor and father figure, Eddie Jackson, said he came up with the idea and paid for the bookmarks. Local businesses donated school supplies that students will receive along with the bookmarks.
"This is something I helped set up to do to give back to the community which has supported him," Jackson said.
James averaged 29 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.7 assists last season as SVSM reached its third straight state tournament, losing in the Division II state championship game. James led his team to Division III state titles the previous two seasons.
He won every major national player of the year award following his junior year.
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)