LeBron James to donate $2.5 million to Smithsonian for Muhammad Ali display

CLEVELAND, Ohio — LeBron James will give $2.5 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture to support its Muhammad Ali display.

The “Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change” display has been on view since September.

According to a release from the Smithsonian, the display “tells the story of how Ali’s contributions transcended the world of sport—his commitment to challenging racial barriers helped lay the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.”

James’ business partner, Maverick Carter, will also be part of the contribution.

“Every professional athlete, regardless of race and gender, owes a huge debt of gratitude to Muhammad Ali,” James said. “His legacy deserves to be studied and revered by every generation. I am honored to partner with the Smithsonian to celebrate one of the most influential figures in our nation’s history who, along with Jackie Robinson and Jesse Owens, used the power of sports to advance our civil rights.”

Lonnie Ali, Ali’s widow, said the exhibit will enable children to learn more about Ali’s work outside the ring, “particularly his humanitarian work and stance on social justice for all people.”

“Thank you LeBron James and the Smithsonian for making this possible,” she said. “I know that if Muhammad was alive today, he would be honored.”