Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James will donate $2.5 million to support the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
James, his charitable foundation and business partner Maverick Carter are pledging the donation for the exhibit “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change,” which debuted with the museum’s opening in September. It features Ali’s headgear and training robe from Dundee’s Fifth Street Gym, and also celebrates his achievements in community activism, resistance, politics, spirituality and culture.
“[James’] 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, according to USA Today.
“Muhammad Ali is such a cornerstone 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 on Thursday.
Ali, a three-time heavyweight champion and social activist, died in June at the age of 74.
“I am overwhelmed by the incredible generosity LeBron James has shown,” Ali’s wife Lonnie said in a statement. “This exhibit will enable children visiting the Smithsonian to learn more about Muhammad’s work outside of the ring, particularly his humanitarian work and stance on social justice for all people. … I know that if Muhammad was alive today he would be honored.”
Muhammad Ali’s Life in Pictures
1. Paris Portait, 1960Source:AFP/Getty Images 1 of 20
2. Training, 1960Source:Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images 2 of 20
3. Posing With Legends, 1960Source:The Ring Magazine/Getty Images 3 of 20
4. Family Man, 1965Source:Stanley Weston/Getty Images 4 of 20
5. Predicts Five, 1963Source:Kent Gavin/Keystone/Getty Images 5 of 20
6. Married Man, 1963Source:Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images 6 of 20
7. Louth Mouth, 1964Source:Harry Benson/Getty Images 7 of 20
8. Down Goes Liston, 1965Source:Hulton Archive/Getty Images 8 of 20
9. In Living Color, 1966Source:Marka/UIG via Getty Images 9 of 20
10. Rumble in the Jungle, 1974Source:STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images 10 of 20
11. Man of the Press, 1974Source:The Ring Magazine/Getty Images 11 of 20
12. Muhammad Ali Day, 1974Source:The Ring Magazine/Getty Images 12 of 20
13. Taunting Foreman, 1974Source:Agence France Presse/Getty Images 13 of 20
14. The Greatest, 1977Source:British Lion Film Corporation/Getty Images 14 of 20
15. The King and The Champ, 1977Source:Ron Galella/WireImage/Getty Images 15 of 20
16. Ali’s Girls, 1978Source:Frank Tewkesbury/Evening Standard/Getty Images 16 of 20
17. Ali Taunts Holmes, 1980Source:The Ring Magazine/Getty Images 17 of 20
18. Friends Out of the RingSource:SGranitz/WireImage/Getty Images 18 of 20
19. Humanitarian Award, 2002Source:M. Caulfield/WireImage/Getty Images 19 of 20
20. Like Father Like Daughter, 2002Source:Scott Halleran/Getty Images 20 of 20
(Photo Source: AP)