Soon, basketball star LeBron James’s dulcet tones could be lulling you to sleep, telling you how to be a better team player, or helping you manage your emotions when you’re upset.
The Los Angeles Laker has teamed up with meditation and sleep app Calm to show people that mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness. James will voice original audio content on the platform and star in a new marketing campaign that will see him on TV, billboard, and radio ads.
James worked with the company to create “Train Your Mind,” a series of 10-minute segments focusing on mental fitness, covering topics including managing emotions, sleep, and maintaining balance. Five episodes will be released Tuesday.
“In the ‘Train Your Mind’ series, LeBron will offer wisdom speaking as an athlete, a father, and a businessman. He’ll help you train your mind to be better at everything from teamwork to prepping for a game,” Calm cofounder Alex Tew says.
Next year, James will help users go to sleep. In 2018, after noticing that many customers were listening to Calm in order to fall asleep, the company launched Sleep Stories. Listeners can choose from a range of audio clips—from fairy tales to Brexit legal documents—performed by the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Stephen Fry, and another famous athlete, John McEnroe. TechCrunch reports that Sleep Stories has been a hit, with more than 150 million listens from its 2 million paid subscribers and 50 million downloads.
The partnership with James is part of Calm’s plan to expand its offerings to include self-help classes, stretching routines, and relaxing music. “We’ve had a lot of success with masterclass programs, and we want to move beyond meditation and sleep to create audio that changes people’s lives,” cofounder Michael Acton-Smith says.
Calm, which became the first unicorn focusing on mental health in February after it raised $88 million at a $1 billion valuation, was founded by Acton-Smith and Tew in 2012.
Through the partnership, all students and staff at James’s I Promise School will receive access to the series, which has been folded into the curriculum with designated class time devoted to “mindfulness and emotional processing.”
Acton-Smith says that they eventually hope to help over 1 million children develop their cognitive acuity. “We’re trying to reach children as young as we can to help them create a mental fitness routine,” he says. “We’ve often talked about the mental fitness revolution, and this partnership feels like the tipping point.”