AKRON, Ohio -- Bubba Watson recently added a new prize to his trophy room. It only cost him $30,000.
But it was for a good cause -- the I Promise School, a new public school for at-risk kids established by the LeBron James Family Foundation and Akron Public Schools system. Watson heard about the school that James, the NBA star, opened here in his hometown earlier this week, and the two-time Masters champion wanted to donate to the cause.
Then Watson found out about the 114 pairs of Nike shoes that James is auctioning off. All the proceeds go to support the school. Watson contacted James to ensure that 100 percent of the proceeds would indeed be designated for the school, "otherwise, I told him I'd just write him a check."
He didn't have to do that. Instead, on Wednesday night, he bid on a pair of the shoes. (The winning bidder gets one shoe and the other stays on display at the school.) His $30,000 bid won him the shoes that James wore in Game 3 of the 2017 NBA Finals in Cleveland, a game that Watson attended.
Watson, who in February appeared in the Celebrity Game during the NBA's All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, said he planned to display the shoe at a new driving range and teaching center he opened in Pensacola, Fla. Then it might find its way to his trophy room. It will go well with the pair of shoes Kevin Durant gave him two years ago after a game against the L.A. Clippers.
"It's cool. He's doing a lot for his hometown," Watson said of James. "You know, I've won three times this year, but this was way better in my book. I feel like I'm known as a golfer and not a real person sometimes, and I just want to do other things that are far more important than playing golf."
He'll be known in the I Promise School. As an auction winner, Watson will have his name printed on the lobby wall.