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LeBron James gives $2.5 million for Smithsonian Ali exhibit

LeBron James will donate $2.5 million in support of the Smithsonian's Muhammad Ali exhibit.
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Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James will donate $2.5 million in support of a Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC.

James, the LeBron James Family Foundation and business partner Maverick Carter are pledging the donation for the exhibit called "Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change."

“Every professional athlete, regardless of race and gender, owes a huge debt of gratitude to Muhammad Ali,” James said in a statement. “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.” 

The new Smithsonian museum opened in September. Hall of Famer and Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan donated $5 million to the museum and fellow Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and his wife donated at least $1 million.

Ali, a three-time heavyweight champion, died June 3 at age 74.

"I am overwhelmed by the incredible generosity LeBron James has shown," Ali's wife Lonnie said. "This exhibit will enable children visiting the Smithsonian to learn more about Muhammad's work outside of the ring, particularly his humanitarian work and stance on social justice for all people. ... I know that if Muhammad was alive today he would be honor."

– Scooby Axson