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Megan Rapinoe, Barack Obama Participate in LeBron James' Graduation Special

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 17, 2020

FRISCO, TX - MARCH 11: Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States celebrates during a game between Japan and USWNT at Toyota Stadium on March 11, 2020 in Frisco, Texas. (Photo by Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images)
Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James' graduation special honoring the class of 2020 aired Saturday and included appearances from former President Barack Obama and United States women's national team soccer captain Megan Rapinoe.

The one-hour special, entitled Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020, aired on all four major American broadcast networks nationwide.

James, a 2003 graduate of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, and the founder of the I Promise School (also in Akron) said the following in part, per Ella Torres and Mark Osborne of ABC News.

"In our poorest neighborhoods in America, school is about much more than learning. Our schools are our safety net. ... It's time to chase every dream."

Obama, of Punahou School (Honolulu), Columbia University and Harvard Law School, made the following remarks:

"I couldn't be prouder with all of you in the graduating class of 2020. Graduating is a big achievement under any circumstances. Some of you have had to overcome serious obstacles along the way. ... And just as you're about to celebrate having made it through, just as you've been looking forward to proms and senior nights, graduation ceremonies, and -- let's face it -- a whole bunch of parties, the world has turned upside down by a global pandemic."

He added the following:

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"[The pandemic has] woken a lot of young people up to the fact that the old ways of doing things just don't work. And it doesn't matter how much money you make if everyone around you is hungry and sick. And that our society and democracy only work when we think not just about ourselves, but about each other."

Rapinoe, who graduated from Foothill High School (Redding, California) and the University of Portland, implored graduates to get out and vote.

"This is your moment and it is unlike any we have ever see before. I'm not gonna ask you to come together, I'm gonna ask you to demand better -- together.

"... Who is leading matters."

Per the Associated Press, the special was a joint feature partnering the LeBron James Family Foundation, XQ Institute and The Entertainment Industry Foundation.

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