LeBron James was one of the most active athletes in helping bring change through activism and advocacy in 2016. In an exclusive interview with Sports Illustrated, James described looking up to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali for inspiration in speaking out for what he believes in.
“I admired Dr. Martin Luther King. I admired Muhammad Ali and what they stood for,” James says. “I admire those guys but you have to have your own path. It's just who I am. I'm just comfortable speaking out on things I'm passionate about. It's scary at times and all but at the same time it's challenging. It's all about the conversation. We need to keep the conversation going.”
James credited Ali in his speech at the ESPYS, where he joined Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in urging athletes to use their platform to promote social change. James will also serve as the executive producer of an HBO documentary on Ali, who died in June.
James was named the 2016 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year. He previously won the award in 2012.