Russell Westbrook announces plan to open an academy in South L.A.

Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook dribbles the ball
Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook is launching an academy for middle school and high school students in South L.A.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

LeBron James isn’t the only high-profile athlete looking to strengthen urban communities by establishing educational and outreach programs.

Washington Wizards standout and former UCLA star Russell Westbrook announced his foundation is partnering with L.A. Promise Fund to launch the Russell Westbrook Why Not? Academy for middle school and high school students in South L.A.

The newly formed partnerships seeks to create better educational opportunities for children living in South L.A. while preparing them for college and making them “active citizens committed to social change,” according to the announcement. People magazine reported that Westbrook is working with his wife Nina Earl and business partner Donnell Beverly on the project.


“Creating and supporting educational opportunities for underserved youth has always been a passion of mine,” Westbrook said in a statement. “It’s so important that every child has access to a good education regardless of their socioeconomic background.”

Russell Westbrook announces his plans to launch a middle school and high school in South L.A.

Westbrook, 32, starred at Leuzinger High School in Lawndale before moving on to UCLA (2006-08). Giving children a chance to succeed is the main reason why he’s pushing forward with the educational initiative.

“I not only want to inspire and empower these students, but I want to help provide the essential and necessary resources to set them up for success beyond the classroom,” Westbrook said.

In December, James’ foundation unveiled its latest endeavor — House Three Thirty — a multifaceted community center in Akron, Ohio, for families in James’ I Promise program that includes a school, low-cost housing and plans for a center where financial planning, job training, physical activity and community events can be housed in a single location.