Hillary Clinton is praising LeBron James for his role as one of the prominent athletes who have founded a nonprofit group, More Than A Vote, to fight black voter suppression and encourage minority voters.
The non-profit group was first reported by The New York Times on Wednesday.
Clinton, the former first lady, senator, and democratic candidate for president, retweeted the article and wrote: “Good news in the fight against voter suppression: @KingJames is coming onto the court.”
James has been very vocal on social justice issues in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was murdered by white police officer Derek Chauvin on May 25 in Minneapolis. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds despite Floyd repeatedly saying that he couldn’t breathe. His death, captured on video, sparked nationwide protests, rioting and looting.
“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 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.”
James and Clinton have a history of admiration for one another. James supported Clinton when she won the democratic nominee for the 2016 presidential race. James spoke at a campaign rally for her in his home state of Ohio on Nov. 6, 2016, bringing then-teammate J.R. Smith and Smith’s daughter on stage with him.
“I want people to understand I grew up in the inner city and I know the whole notion of getting out and voting,” James said at the rally, which took place about five months after he led the Cleveland Cavaliers to their first NBA championship in 2016.
“I was one of those kids and I was around the community that was like ‘our vote doesn’t matter.’ But it really does. It really really does. We have to get out and make sure we vote. We have to get out and be knowledgeable about what’s going on. About what we see that our future entails. This woman right here has the brightest future.”
At Clinton's rally, James also talked about his LeBron James Family Foundation and why encouraging youth is so important.
“My foundation (is about) giving my kids the opportunity to feel like they’re important,” James said. “My foundation, giving kids the notion someone cares about them and that what they dream about, that someone like myself and J.R. and president Hillary Clinton can make their dreams become a reality is very important to me. I believe this woman right here can continue that."
James referred to Clinton as the next president in his speech, but Donald Trump eventually became the 45th president of the United States after receiving the majority in the Electoral College.
Clinton also praised James for his work in the community at that rally.
“I have to thank LeBron, what he does on the basketball court, you all know. It makes him so special. It makes him a champion,“ Clinton said. “But I am just as impressed, as I have told him, about what he does off the court. Because what he does off the court is to care for every child as though that child were his own. He has been so committed through the LeBron James Family Foundation. He’s using the national platform he earned to advocate for children everywhere, especially right here in Ohio.”
Two years later, James went on to found the I Promise School in Akron to help at-risk youth.