NBA star LeBron James and a number of other top Black athletes and entertainers are creating a new group which will work to protect Black American voting rights, James said Wednesday to the New York Times's Jonathan Martin.
“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,” James told The Times. “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 organization, named More Than a Vote, is looking to inspire Black Americans to vote in the upcoming election, but will also try and go beyond traditional measures, especially those taken by celebrities.
“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said. “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.
"We want to be beautiful once again.”
James's off-court achievements are already vast, with the Lakers star opening his own school in Akron and helping cover the costs of attending the University of Akron for low-income students, among other notable achievements. Just since the NBA suspended play in mid-March, James has provided thousands of meals for Akron residents and been a staunch advocate for the equal rights of Black people in America. He took to social media on multiple occasions to address the death of George Floyd, writing, “Why Doesn’t America Love US!!!!!???? TOO" in one particular tweet.
This past Tuesday marked an Election Day for several states conducting their primaries and James weighed in on reports of long lines throughout predominantly Black neighborhoods.
But as Martin notes, the new organization might be James's most significant move toward electoral politics.
Trae Young, Jalen Rose, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Draymond Green, Alvin Kamara and Udonis Haslem are some of the current and former athletes who are joining the organization. Actor Kevin Hart has also committed to the group and James told The Times he is speaking to a number of musicians as well.
James and his business partner and friend Maverick Carter are putting up the initial funding for the organization, per The Times.