LeBron James To Support NMAAHC’s Muhammad Ali Exhibit With $2.5 Million Donation

The sports world is still healing from the loss of one of boxing’s greatest figures, Muhammad Ali. The Louisville native passed away in June from septic shock, and endured a decades-long battle with Parkinson’s disease. But to continue the preservation of his legacy, another herald sports figure is stepping up to the plate.

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According to USA Today, LeBron James will donate $2.5 million to the newly-opened National Museum of African American History and Culture’s exhibit, “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change.” James received the notice from American Express CEO, Ken Chenault, who said, “The fit of LeBron supporting the Muhammad Ali exhibit is perfect because he exemplifies the qualities that Muhammad Ali exhibited throughout his life.”

In an interview with the news site, the Cleveland Cavaliers power forward shared why being a part of this venture is important to him. “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 said. “I think of him every day. Without his passion and goals and morals, I don’t know if I’d be sitting here talking to you about it.” James’ donation sits alongside Magic and Cookie Johnson’s $1 million offering, and Michael Jordan’s $5 million contribution to the museum’s showcases.

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On the passing of Ali, James said he served as an early role model throughout his childhood. “As a kid I gravitated towards him because he was a champion, but I only knew as a kid of what he did inside the ring,” he said. “As I got older and I started to be more knowledgeable about the sport, about sport in general and about the guys who paved the way for guys like myself.”