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LeBron James spearheads group to protect African-Americans’ voting rights and fight against voter suppression

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LeBron James was once told to “shut up and dribble.” Thankfully, he didn’t listen. Arguably the greatest basketball player to ever live and a true global icon, has one of the biggest platforms in all of sports, if not all the world, and he has consistently used that platform to speak to, and take action toward, the most important matters of our time. 

As worldwide protests rage on following George Floyd’s death at the hands of the Minneapolis police, James is spearheading a group that will aim to protect African-Americans’ voting rights while also combatting voter suppression, the New York Times reports.

The organization will be called “More than a Vote” — a nod to the “More than an Athlete” slogan that is connected to James’ digital platform, Uninterrupted. 

From 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,” Mr. James said in a phone interview 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.”

The organization, called More Than a Vote, will partly be aimed at inspiring African-Americans to register and to cast a ballot in November. But as the name of the group suggests, Mr. James and other current and former basketball stars — including Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jalen Rose — will go well beyond traditional celebrity get-out-the-vote efforts.

Mr. James, 35, said he would use his high-profile platform on social media to combat voter suppression and would be vocal about drawing attention to any attempts to restrict the franchise of racial minorities.

The Los Angeles Times reports that the initial funding for the group will come from James, his business partner Maverick Carter, music mogul Jimmy Iovine and Paul Wachter, who serves as an investment adviser to James. Also per the Los Angeles Times, the organization “plans to target states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia and Texas to fight against voter suppression.”

These are all crucial swing states in the upcoming presidential election. James did not invoke President Trump’s name in any of his messaging regarding “More Than a Vote,” but he has been critical of the president in the past. 

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James told the New York Times. “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.”

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