LOS ANGELES — This time last year, Salma Medina and her mom had cooked 1,000 tamales to feed neighbors and the homeless.

Her passion for giving began almost three years ago, when she went to the 2018 NBA All-Star game as a member of the After-School All-Stars Los Angeles, where she sat courtside with Arnold Schwarzenegger.

LeBron James had picked the organization for the special honor.

“It meant the world when I first heard LeBron had chosen All-Stars for this specific event,” Medina said. “I was so excited because everybody knows LeBron James. He’s just so cool and awesome.”

Months later, LeBron became a Laker, and Medina learned about what he does off the court with his I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, his numerous charitable contributions, and the More Than A Vote campaign.

“It’s refreshing to see somebody of that light and that power to be able to do what he’s doing. It’s inspiring me to want to do the same,” Medina added. 

As a high school student, Medina is doing her part to serve. She sold homemade bracelets to raise money for a Long Beach community center. She also guided other kids to serve too, on the After-School All-stars youth advisory board. Like LeBron, Medina was raised by a single mom who taught her to give to others.

“Though she credits me for instilling some of these values, it’s something that’s just innate in her,” said Cat Medina.

LeBron’s championship season and his philanthropy earned him more honors as Time Magazine’s athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated’s sportsperson of the year

“We’re more than athletes,” said LeBron, this preseason. “Perform at a high level and what as far as our profession, but also being to change lives and create opportunities and inspire people.”

He inspires young people like Medina who now is doing the same for people in Los Angeles.