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Want to know the real LeBron? Ask Akron

Cleveland Cavaliers' basketball player LeBron James speaks at The University of Akron, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, in Akron, Ohio. James teamed up with first lady Michelle Obama to celebrate the importance of secondary education at a private event at the University of Akron. The NBA superstar, who went from high school to the pros, and first lady are hosting thousands of children and their parents at the school. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)By now, most people already have their minds made up about LeBron James. Ever since he announced his "Decision" to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers to team up with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, he's typically been cast in the role of villain. In many regards, that's fair. He handled that situation very poorly, though most forget that the show raised two million dollars for the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and he seemed almost to embrace the hatred he so often received.

His decision to rejoin the Cavs before last season helped to mend some of those bridges but, for many, it was too little too late. That was less the case, however, for those in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. While they were disappointed to see him join the Heat, they never really felt like he left. That's mostly because he didn't. He has remained a part of their community throughout his years in the NBA, with frequent visits to local restaurants, appearances on the sidelines at high school football games, and charitable work such as spending a million dollars to renovate the school gym where he played basketball growing up.

As Jesse Washington writes for The Undefeated, however, LeBron hopes that his most enduring legacy will be his foundation's effort to provide a free college education to Akron's most at-risk youth. While James's foundation will not have to pay for the entirety of that education, given that most of the students in the program would also qualify for federal aid, the primary benefit will most likely be felt in the years leading up to college.

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The Life and Faith of Carson Wentz

North Dakota State quarterback Carson Wentz is seen during the school's NFL football pro day, Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Fargo, N.D. (AP Photo/Bruce Crummy)A bumper sticker, like Tabasco, is small, packs a punch, and says a lot about a person. Consider a few examples.

"My opinions are awesome!" This person is intelligent enough to form an opinion, and smart enough to know everyone else could care less.

"Watch out for the idiot behind me." This person may be a cautious driver, but tactful is another story.

And who can forget this person, fluent in sarcasm and conversant in passive aggression. "Be nice to America or we will bring democracy to your country."

So what is on the back of Carson Wentz's truck?

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UFC's most popular athlete to retire?

Conor McGregor looks on before fighting Jose Aldo in a featherweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 194, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)UFC Featherweight champion Conor McGregor, 27, announced on Twitter yesterday that he "decided to retire young." As Darren Rovell reports, his statement generated more retweets in two hours than all but eight athletes had in the entirety of 2015. In just over twenty-four hours, it has already passed NBA legend Kobe Bryant's retirement announcement, the most retweeted post of last year.

Most doubt the sincerity of McGregor's intentions, instead pointing to a rumored feud with UFC President Dana White over the fighter's pay. For his part, Dana White appeared on ESPN yesterday to say that the issue was over McGregor's refusal to show up for mandatory press appearances in Las Vegas to promote his rematch with Nate Diaz at UFC 200—one of the company's most anticipated events. He has since been removed from the card.

The rematch with Diaz was interesting in part because McGregor would again be fighting outside of his natural 145 pound division, but more so because Diaz beat him on short notice for his first loss since joining the UFC. The first bout took place at 170 pounds to compensate for the short notice, so McGregor retained his belt even after the loss.

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Resilience: The Career and Faith of Kobe Bryant

Feb. 02, 2016 - Los Angeles, California, U.S. - Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second half of a NBA basketball game at Staples Center on Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2015 in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Lakers won 119-115. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)At the age of eighteen, Kobe Bryant anxiously sat on the famed Los Angeles Lakers bench and eagerly waited for his chance to play during that 1996–97 season. He was the youngest player in the history of the National Basketball Association. Coming straight out of high school to straight north of Compton, Bryant would ride the Lakers bench part of that first year while fans—including me—would chant his name. We had seen the video highlights, we had heard the myth-like stories, and we wanted to see it for ourselves.

For the past twenty seasons, we have watched Bryant. But on Wednesday night, audiences will watch Bryant play one last time.

Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1978, Bryant was named after a Japanese steakhouse, which is ironic, seeing that he was a source of strength (protein) and a source of concern (cholesterol) to his team over the years.

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Opening Day and the D.C. Metro

An opening day logo decorates the field before the start of the final season home-opening baseball game at Turner Field between the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals, Monday, April 4, 2016, in Atlanta. The Braves will move to a newly constructed stadium for next season. (AP Photo/David Goldman)Baseball is back. The last time meaningful games were played, Donald Trump and Ben Carson were close in Republican polling, the Paris attacks hadn't happened yet, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens ads were teasing the yet-to-be-released blockbuster. If you're having trouble remembering, the Kansas City Royals roundly defeated the up and coming New York Mets in five games to secure their first World Series title since 1985. Salvador Perez was named MVP for the series, marking the first time in over twenty years that a catcher won the coveted award.

After the long winter months, which saw the Alabama Crimson Tide roll to another National Championship and the Denver Broncos muscle their way to a Super Bowl 50 victory, regular season baseball is back. Numerous storylines capture the state of the game the start of the new season: the rise of young stars, the increased prominence of new stats, new pace-of-play rules, and the ever-present vexing question: will the Giants make it four World Series in as many even years?  

The pomp and circumstance that surround Opening Day in baseball is truly something to behold. Teams go all out to celebrate the beginning of the new season. There are massive, field-spanning American flags, jet-flyovers, celebrity first pitches, and the spectacle of new players in new uniforms for the first time.

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