Lebron James has long been a fan of the late boxing superstar Muhammad Ali. Ali is considered to have transcended his fame as a boxer and become a cultural icon in a way that few have ever done before. His pacifism, conversion to Islam, and refusal to fight in the Vietnam war are huge parts of his legacy.
James has the utmost respect for Ali and had this to say:
“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. 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.”
James decided to show his respect by donating $2.5 million to a Smithsonian Exhibit on Muhammad Ali. Other notable donors include Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson. James is building his own legacy with the charitable work he is doing in Ohio. James works with underprivileged children to provide school supplies and academic help. He recently started an initiative to provide 4 year scholarships for students that enroll in his program. If he keeps it up, Lebron James might have his own Smithsonian Exhibit someday.