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Famous for his blocking on the court, LeBron James is now turning his protective tactics to the voting booth.
Following the death of George Floyd and amid the Black Lives Matter movement, the NBA superstar and fellow Black athletes, including Jalen Rose and Skylar Diggins-Smith, as well as other entertainment figures like Kevin Hart, are joining together behind More Than a Vote, a new organization they’ve founded focused on “protecting African Americans’ voting rights,” according to a New York Times report. James and longtime friend and colleague, Maverick Carter, are providing initial funding, according to the report.
Announced on Thursday to the newspaper, the organization comes less than five months until the 2020 presidential election on Nov. 3. According to James’ interview with the Times, one of the objectives of the organization will be to get African Americans to register to vote and then participate come November.
“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James told the newspaper. “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.”
Just days ago, James responded to a report from Politico on Twitter, which highlighted the hours-long voting experience of LaTosha Brown, who later drove to a predominantly white polling place and saw no line.
The basketball star tweeted, “Everyone talking about ‘how do we fix this?’ They say ‘go out and vote?’ What about asking if how we vote is also structurally racist?”
While the Black Lives Matter movement goes global and calls for change continue, according to James, the time to make a difference is now.
“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 newspaper. “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.”
On a personal level, James wants to make a lasting impact.
“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 said. “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.”