LeBron James is donating $2.5 million to a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, the museum announced on Wednesday.
James’ business partner Maverick Carter, and the LeBron James Family Foundation, will contribute to the $2.5 million gift. James, his foundation, and Carter will join the NMAAHC’s list of founding donors, which includes Michael Jordan, who donated $5 million, and Magic Johnson, who donated $1 million.
“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,” Lonnie Ali, Ali’s widow, said. “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.”
“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 demeanour,” James told USA TODAY Sports of his donation.
He added: “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’ donation marks a continued commitment to philanthropy from the three-time NBA Champion.
In 2015, James and his foundation announced a new scholarship program that puts more than 2,000 students through the University of Akron.
His foundation is also deeply committed to the Wheels for Change program, which enrolls third graders and helps put them on a path for college and to earn scholarships.
James is currently worth roughly $77 million, according to Forbes.