Cleveland Cavaliers star player LeBron James donates $2.5 million to “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change,” an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.
“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.
“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.”
Number 23, along with his charitable foundation and business partner Maverick Carter, are pledging the donation.
The exhibit includes Ali’s headgear and training robe and also celebrates his achievements in community activism, politics, religion and culture. A three-time world heavyweight champion, Ali died in June at 74.
Other donors to the museum include Michael Jordan, who donated $5 million, and Magic Johnson and his wife Cookie, who donated over $1 million.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture opened Sept. 24 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument, the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit www.nmaahc.si.edu.