Sports Illustrated announced that Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will receive their Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in honor of his social activism efforts this year.
James has long been one of the most outspoken athletes when it comes to social issues, but that came even more into focus this year as the country dealt with a number of political issues while going through a global pandemic.
One of the major accomplishments James made was forming More Than A Vote movement, which focused on voter registration around the country.
The organization worked to combat voter suppression by registering many unregistered citizens to vote while also working with a number of arenas and stadiums around the country to open as polling places, making voting more accessible.
LeBron was one of many athletes outspoken about the shootings of multiple black men and women including Ahmaud Arbery, Jacob Blake, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Following the shooting of Blake, the NBA Playoffs were postponed as players decided how they wanted to continue on amidst the ongoing protests.
James was deeply involved in those player meetings, even reaching out to former President Barack Obama for advice on how to move forward, ultimately creating a social justice coalition within the NBA and WNBA amongst other things.
James is also one of the recipients of the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award along with Breanna Stewart of the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, 2020 Women’s US Open winner Naomi Osaka, and Kansas City Chiefs guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif.
James previously won the Sportsperson of the Year Award in 2012 and 2016.
LeBron, Frank Vogel hint at load management
With an extremely short turnaround from winning the NBA Finals, the Lakers will be doing everything to ensure that James, entering his 18th NBA season, doesn’t rush back and put himself at any more potential risk than is already there.
As such, there has been some belief that load management could be a factor for him this season.
“We’re both sort of of the mindset of let’s just see how it plays out and evaluate each day, each week how he’s feeling and not lock into any set plan,” head coach Frank Vogel said. And James sounds as if he’s right in-line with that idea as well.
“For me personally, it’s always a fine line. Understanding with the shortened offseason — I think 71 days, the shortest offseason for any professional sport ever — so we’re very conscientious about what we do going forward,” he said.
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