As LeBron James has gotten older — he’s 31 now, which seems like a misprint — he has participated in more philanthropic endeavors. He started small with a bike program in Cleveland and has now elevated his charitable contributions all the way to a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian.
Via USA Today, James and his charitable organization donated $2.5 million to create the exhibit, joining Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson as some of the more noteworthy contributors to the museum.
“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,” James told USA TODAY Sports in an exclusive interview about the exhibit.
“I think of him every day. Without his passion and goals and morals, I don’t know if I’d be sitting here today talking to you about it.”
“His support will help us to continue the story of Muhammad Ali and will encourage athletes to realize how important athletics is in terms of social justice,” museum founding director Lonnie Bunch said. “It’s also really important that actions like this by Mr. James encourage younger athletes and people with means to recognize the philanthropy and paying homage to those who went before, how crucially important that is.”
It’s crazy to think how much everyone hated LeBron after The Decision, which also featured him donating $2.5 million to the Boys and Girls Club of Greenwich, Conn. Why does LeBron even talk to us anymore? I promise to only be half as mad as I could be once he announces he’s starring in a Space Jam sequel.