NBA star LeBron James has been an influential voice in the fight for social justice and now his efforts to spread awareness about social equality will be highlighted at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, NBC Washington reported.
The black and white equality sneakers that James wore during a game against the Washington Wizards last year are heading to the Smithsonian, the news outlet writes. He donned the sneakers to express his disapproval of the racial division that Donald Trump has incited in our country. One sneaker was black, the other was white, and both had the word “equality” on them. The addition of the sneakers to the museum will add to the history and ongoing narrative of how athletes are using their platforms to bring attention to social justice issues.
“When he wore the black and white pair, it’s something we paid attention to. Thinking about the significance of the shoes and LeBron’s contribution to fighting for social justice, we decided it would make sense and be a great opportunity to add these shoes into our collection,” Dr. Damion Thomas, who curates the sports exhibit at the museum, told USA Today. “One of our main goals is not just collect things with significant historical background and importance, but also think about the objects that allow us to engage in the contemporary questions and issues that the nation is grappling with.” The sneakers are slated to be featured at the museum this fall.
This isn’t the first time that James has been involved with the museum. In 2016, he made a $2.5 million donation to the Muhammad Ali exhibit. “Every professional athlete, regardless of race and gender, owes a huge debt of gratitude to Muhammad Ali,” James said in a statement, according to the Huffington Post. “His legacy deserves to be studied and revered by every generation.”