Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, who once was infamously told to “shut up and dribble” when he talked about politics, is now stepping into the topic in a major way. Along with several other entertainment stars and prominent athletes, he is forming a new political action group aimed at protecting African-Americans’ voting rights and encouraging them to turn out to vote.
The “More Than a Vote” organization will focus on African-American voter registration and ballot casting in November’s elections. Already enlisted in the cause are actor Kevin Hart and basketball stars Trae Young, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Jalen Rose, Draymond Green, and Udonis Haslem, as well as NFL running back Alvin Kamara. James reportedly is also attempting to recruit prominent musicians.
“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,” James said to the New York Times. “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 new organization is a 501(c)4 nonprofit, which means it cannot attempt specific advocacy for a candidate, James and business partner Maverick Carter are providing the initial funding. James also brings a massive outreach platform, boasting a social media presence of more than 130 million users, plus his Lakers forum and production company, SpringHill Entertainment.
“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 in his Times interview. “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.”