The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture announced today that LeBron James will give $2.5 million to support the museum and its presentation titled “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change.” On view since the museum’s September opening, it tells the story of how Ali’s contributions transcended the world of sport—his commitment to challenging racial barriers helped lay the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.
James’ business partner Maverick Carter will also be part of the $2.5 million contribution to the Ali exhibit. With this gift, the LeBron James Family Foundation and Carter will join the list of founding donors for NMAAHC.
“Every professional athlete, regardless of race and gender, owes a huge debt of gratitude to Muhammad Ali,” James said. “His legacy deserves to be studied and revered by every generation. I am honored to partner with the Smithsonian to celebrate one of the most influential figures in our nation’s history who, along with Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens, used the power of sports to advance our civil rights.”
“I am overwhelmed by the incredible generosity LeBron James has shown to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and to Muhammad’s legacy,” said Lonnie Ali, Ali’s widow. “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. Thank you to LeBron James and the Smithsonian for making this possible. I know that if Muhammad was alive today he would be honored.”