lebron james & second conditional

last month at the nba all-star game, lebron james, the best baller in the world,  responded to being told “shut up and dribble” by a conservative political pundit (analyst, authority). james’ answer was that he has no intention of doing that.

lebron james talking to kids

lebron not shutting up (photo by ty wright/getty images)

an article on the usa today website by  jeff zillgitt poses (presents) this hypothetical question in the headline

What if LeBron James had just shut up and dribbled?

had, shut up and dribbled are all past tense and indicate a hypothetical possibility. lebron did NOT actually shut up.

lebron james family foundation logo

michele campbell, director of the lebron james family foundation used hypothetical structures (second conditional—-if + past tense + would, could, might or may) several times to praise the work lebron has done promoting education in his hometown of akron, ohio.

  • if it was just basketball for him, what a waste that would be.

waste means it would be throwing away lebron’s significant non-basketball talents.

fun efl practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

if it was just basketball for him….. is used to present various other accomplishments lebron’s foundation is responsible for.

  • there wouldn’t be $41 million earmarked for full-ride scholarships at the university of akron for akron public school students who go through the foundation’s i promise program.

earmarked means designated for. a scholarship is free money provided to students to pay for school go through means participate in, complete.

lebron showing off an i promise wristband

lebron’s wristband in this picture says “i promise”, the name of the program he started for students in akron.
  • there wouldn’t be 23 high school students called 330 ambassadors who mentor younger students in James’ program.

mentor means advise someone younger or less experienced.

morpheus & neo

in the matrix, morpheus is neo’s mentor.

abigail zupancic is a volunteer.  she is a high school student and she describes working with younger students….

if they’re struggling with school, they can reach out and get paired up with one of us.

struggle means have problems. reach out is ask for help. pair up with is work with one other person.

  • there wouldn’t be an i promise public school opening in the fall for 120 third-graders and 120 fourth-graders. by 2022, the school will be open to students grades one through eight.

to show the power of james’ name, campbell shared that

without knowing the location of the school, who would be the principal or even who would teach their children, campbell received 240 commitments [from parents]. they’re willing to sign up because we give them hope.

always use the -ing form of a verb after prepositions; in this case knowing (NOT know) after without (a preposition). the principal is the director of the school. a commitment in this context is a pledge to enroll (register) in the school . commitment can also be a responsibility or promise.

michele campbell,

michele campbell, executive director of the lebron james family foundation

campbell also used a hypothetical scenario in the past (third conditional—-modal auxiliary + have + past participle–would have had in this instance)

without lebron james outside of basketball, i’m going to tell u we would have had children who dropped out of school. we have 1,200 kids who are behind in school, but because of lebron james they are catching up and believe they belong on a college campus and believe they can be educated.

drop out means quit. again, campbell uses a real fact to contrast with the hypothetical situation that doesn’t really exist. behind means at a lower level than they should be. catch up means the students are reaching the level where they should be. belong means be in the correct place. can be educated is passive voice (auxiliary be + past participle).

cartoon illustrating the risks of dropping out of school

lebron wants kids to promise they won’t drop out of school (gary varvel)

and lebron said this about his foundation….

did I ever envision it would get to this point? no, i didn’t. but we never had a ceiling. we don’t have a roof now…..we don’t know what’s in the future, but we will come up with a great plan.

envision means visualize, imagine. we never had a ceiling…. is a reference to a confusing comment basketball great michael jordan made last year about potential without limits. come up with means create.

lebron james with a bunch of kids

what do u think about lebron’s efforts to improve education in his hometown? do u know another public figure who has created a similar initiative?  share your views under leave a reply





have fun, amigos.

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