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Lebron James Mural

Working hard to restore his hometown, well known basketball icon, LeBron James, created the LeBron James Family Foundation in 2004, in hopes of creating positive generational change for the city of Akron. Today, the foundation serves over 1,600 students and their families, with housing, education, job training and so much more, mostly based out of the newly renovated event center, known as House Three Thirty. This location was first opened to the public on March 30, as of last year, as a safe space for the entire community to gather for critical community resources, as well as events hosted by the foundation. The building holds several amenities including a Starbucks, a Chase Bank, The Sweet Shop, featuring Mitchell’s ice cream, treats and more, and of course, The Taco Shop by Old El Paso, for LeBron’s beloved taco Tuesday.

The foundation obtained this property in 2020, and there was much work to be done. The building was completely gutted and renovated requiring all of the help they could get. Luckily, the foundation supports several partners including Chase Bank, Goodyear Tires and First Energy. Members of these companies volunteered countless hours of their time to help this project come to be.

Hoover parent and Chase employee, Brian Volz, has dedicated several hours over the past ten years to helping the foundation, helping with everything from new student enrollment, food deliveries, House Three Thirty projects and much more. One night while working late at House Three Thirty, foundation associate, Olivia Filko, had been showing Volz a mural displayed, created by a local artist. This prompted a conversation of future similar artistic projects, and Volz recommended his own client, Dirk Rozich.

Rozich is an artist local to Stark County. He attended the Columbus College of Art and design where he graduated in 2003 with a BFA in Illustration.

“If you were to ask my mother when I started drawing, she would say that I never scribbled,” Rozich said, “I just sat down and began drawing pictures when I was two. It has been something that I have done all of my life.”

His work is displayed in several places throughout northeast Ohio including six hand painted murals in downtown Canton, a 315-foot wall wrap inside the Hall of Fame Village’s Center for the Performance athletic dome and another portrait featured at the Pro Football Hall of Fame which was presented to the Las Vegas Raiders during the 2024 playoff season.

Rozich was then contacted by the foundation’s development team, and was brought in to view a potential spot for a mural within their parking deck; however, it only took the foundation a single interaction to realize his talent was much better suited for a proper canvas.

“After our meeting and a quick review of my portfolio, they decided a more centralized interior mural would be better suited for my style and quality of illustration.”

After nearly four hundred hours of hard work and dedication, a masterpiece was born, featuring LeBron in 13 stages of his life, going back to his early childhood in the 1980’s.

“I have made a career out of capturing the likeness of people and translating their character in paint, but never anyone quite as nationally impactful as LeBron.” Rozich said, “Making certain every line, color and brushstroke was executed with precision and accuracy was nerve racking at times, but ultimately, attention to such details is the reason I have found success in this type of illustration.”

The mural is displayed upon the three walls of the staircase leading to the basement of House Three Thirty, where the LeBron museum is located, featuring artifacts, photographs, statues and more, all in which tell the story of the star himself and how he came to be.

“The mural really is the perfect welcome to an amazing experience.” said Filko, foundation associate. “[the piece] provides the ‘wow factor’ that we were looking for to really set the stage for the experience LeBron James’ Home Court provides.”

This masterpiece contributes yet another unique touch of color to the city of Akron, highlighting local legend, LeBron James.

 

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About the Contributor
Lauren West
Lauren West, Entertainment Editor
I am a senior and this is my third year on staff. I play lacrosse and run cross country, and love spending time with family and friends! Last year I enjoyed my time as a features editor, but I can't wait to begin my new job as an entertainment editor!