LeBron James, who won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers was named Time magazine’s 2020 Athlete of the year.
LeBron James also formed a coaltion to battle voter suppression this year.
The honor from Time magazine comes days after LeBron James was named among Sport Illustrated’s Sportspersons of the Year.
A list that also featured activist athletes after 2020 saw the Black Lives Matter movement sweep through sport along with the rest of US society.
LeBron James had always been very cautious about his public activism to avoid misconception, but that changed in 2020.
Morethan two months before he and other NBA players joined the Milwaukee Bucks in walking out of their playoff games to protest against police brutality and starteracism.
LeBron James started More Than a Vote, a nonprofit organization devoted to fighting the systemic suppression of Black voters.
LeBron James recruited top athletes, actors, entertainers, and politicians to lend their voice to More Than a Vote.
They recruited more than 40,000 young people to be poll workers around the country and pushed for stadiums and sports arenas in major cities to open their doors as polling places. James used his enormous Twitter following to highlight More Than a Vote and get more people involved.
Ben Goldberger, TIME Executive Editor and Editorial Director of Person of the Year:
“I don’t want to lose sight of LeBron James is awesomeness on the court. He is the greatest basketball player of his generation, arguably of any generation. And he won a fourth title this year. That’s no small thing, but his true influence was what he did off of the court. And LeBron has had a remarkable influence across activism for athletes around the world. He has used his unparalleled platform as not just the most talented basketball player in the world, but one of the most popular figures in the entire world to create space for other athletes to bring their full selves to their sports and no longer feel there was a tradeoff between success on the court and principle of it. Specifically this year, with his “More Than a Vote’ organization, he engaged directly in the democratic process, registering tons of people to vote, tens of thousands of volunteers to work at the polls. And he used his leverage to persuade the NBA’s billionaire owners to convert many of the stadiums and arenas into polling places, enabling more people to vote safely while social distancing. I think it is not an overstatement to say that he had a direct impact on the presidential election.”