LeBron James alongside a number of other prominent black athletes and entertainers has announced the creation of a new group that will aim to protect the voting rights of African Americans.
The organisation will be called More Than a Vote and partly intends to inspire African Americans to register to vote ahead of this year’s election in November. “Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us — we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” Mr James told The New York Times on Wednesday.
“How long is up to us. We don’t know. But we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.” The NBA star said that he would be using his high-profile platform on social media to help combat voter suppression.
James also said he would actively campaign against any attempts to restrict the franchise of racial minorities. “Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” Mr James told the newspaper.
“We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.” Other notable athletes that are helping to start the group include Trae Youg, Skylar Diggins-Smith; and Jalen Rose.
The new movement marks a significant increase in political involvement for Mr James, which until now had been largely confined to social media and one appearance at a rally in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, according to The Times.
Mr James told the newspaper that the death of George Floyd, a black man who died last month in Minneapolis after a white police officer knelt on his neck for a prolonged period of time, caused him to realise that he needed “to get out and do a little bit more.”
“I’m inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali, I’m inspired by the Bill Russells and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, the Oscar Robertsons — those guys who stood when the times were even way worse than they are today,” James said.
“Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognise me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball, but the way I approached life as an African-American man.”