LeBron James gives $2.5 million for Smithsonian Ali exhibit

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Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James will donate $2.5 million in support of a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

James, the LeBron James Family Foundation and business partner Maverick Carter are pledging the donation for the exhibit called “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change.”

“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 demeanor,” James told USA Today.

“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 added.

The new Smithsonian museum opened in September. Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan donated $5 million to the museum and fellow Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and his wife donated at least $1 million.

Ali, a three-time heavyweight champion, died June 3 at age 74.

“I am overwhelmed by the incredible generosity LeBron James has shown,” Ali's wife Lonnie said in a statement. “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. … I know that if Muhammad was alive today he would be honor.”

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