If you haven’t heard already, NBA superstar Lebron James has donated $1 million to his former high school. James notion will also gain traction once improvements are made, as the basketball arena will be renamed “The Lebron James Arena”.While that news got all the publicity around the nation this week, another sports figure made a sizable contribution to his alma mater that shouldn’t go unrecognized.
Ndamukong Suh, defensive end for the Detroit Lions, is donating $25,000 to Grant High School in Portland, Oregon. The school, which Suh attended, will be using the money to install new artificial turf and a surrounding track. These updates come after Grant High School had to play all of its football games on the road, due to a lack of a usable field.
While playing football at Grant High School, Suh played offensive line and defensive line. Suh was a Parade All-American and was also named the Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year. In his senior season, Suh had 65 tackles, 10 sacks and four forced fumbles. At Grant, Suh also participated in track and field, which makes the update to the track make sense. Suh was the District Champ for the shot put throwing event.
The donation from Suh follows up a path of charitable efforts from the man seen as a villain to NFL fans and opponents. In 2010, Suh made a large $2.6 million donation to the Univeristy of Nebraska. That donation was split between the Nebraska athletics for strength and conditioning ($2 million) and the College of Engineering for scholarships ($600,000).
Suh wanted to make sure the scholarships to Nebraska gave preference to students from Grant High School and out of state residents. This donation and scholarship fund to Nebraska helped Suh be recognized back in 2011.
The Lions defender was named the Most Charitable NFL Player by the Giving Back Fund. Suh’s gift of $2.6 million was the largest at the time by any athlete. In fact, it was the sixth largest donation to a college by any celebrity. Keep in mind that the Nebraska donation was made prior to the 2010 NFL Draft. Suh earned $320,000 in base salary and $2.78 million in bonuses, after being signed by the Lions in the 2010 NFL Draft.
Suh continues to be hated by NFL fans for his on-field issues. While I will not say Suh has committed some dumb fouls, he continues to be treated unfairly, as demonstrated in this article about Tom Brady. Suh has also earned the trust of the NFL, as he served as an ambassador to China for Super Bowl XLVII. Hate him or love him, Suh is a good example of an athlete giving back to his alma maters.