LeBron James voiced his frustration about voter suppression on Wednesday morning, and it was not much longer until he unveiled his new initiative.
The NBA star is leading a group of prominent black athletes and entertainers to form an organization called More Than a Vote, which will focus on protecting the voting rights of African-American citizens and helping them register and cast a ballot in November, according to The New York Times.
“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,” he 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.”
Among the athletes involved in More Than a Vote include Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young, WNBA star Skylar Diggins-Smith and ESPN NBA analyst and former player Jalen Rose.
“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.”
James, 35, tweeted on Wednesday that the US electoral system was “structurally racist” and included a tweet of a story detailing how predominantly black districts in Georgia experienced long lines and broken machines – issues that did not seem to come up in predominantly white districts.
The three-time NBA champion has consistently been a voice for change and social justice throughout his career, including the recent death of George Floyd, and has also played an active role in the community – which includes opening his own school for children in his home city of Akron.
James endorsed and made an appearance at a Hillary Clinton rally in 2016, but his latest initiative is perhaps his largest move within politics yet.
“I’m inspired by the likes of Muhammad Ali, I’m inspired by the Bill Russells and the Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, the Oscar Robertsons – those guys who stood when the times were even way worse than they are today,” James told The Times. “Hopefully, someday down the line, people will recognize me not only for the way I approached the game of basketball, but the way I approached life as an African-American man.”