LeBron James has always been a philanthropist, and the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum is the latest recipient of his generosity.
James will gift the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture $2.5 million for its Muhammad Ali exhibition. The exhibit will be titled, “Muhammad Ali: A Force For Change.”
Black athletes across the world look to Ali as a role model. James is no different. “Muhammad Ali is such a cornerstone of me as an athlete because of what he represented not only in the ring as a champion but more outside the ring — what he stood for, what he spoke for, his demeanor,” said James to Jeff Zilgitt of USA TODAY Sports.
Michael Jordan ($5 million), Magic Johnson and his wife Cookie (at least $1 million) donated alongside James.
Ali’s deemed the greatest athlete of all time because of all that he did for African-Americans, and James gave his take on it:
“The reason why he’s the GOAT is not because of what he did in the ring, which was unbelievable. It’s what he did outside of the ring, what he believed in, what he stood for, along with Jim Brown and Oscar Robertson, Lew Alcindor – obviously, who became Kareem (Abdul-Jabbar) – Bill Russell, Jackie Robinson. Those guys stood for something. He’s part of the reason why African-Americans today can do what we do in the sports world. We’re free. They allow us to have access to anything we want. It’s because of what they stood for, and Muhammad Ali was definitely the pioneer for that.”
Ali passed away earlier this summer. He was pronounced dead on June 3 at the age of 74 after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s syndrome.
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