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LeBron James To Be Honored With President’s Award During NAACP Image Awards For His Work Off The Court

LeBron James To Be Honored With President’s Award During NAACP Image Awards For His Work Off The Court

NBA superstar LeBron James will receive the President’s Award during the 52nd NAACP Image Awards, earning the honor because of his commitment to social justice efforts and philanthropic leadership. 

The NAACP, which will present the award during a ceremony airing on BET on Saturday, has recognized James as a cultural icon who has transcended beyond sports.

“LeBron has used his platform to speak out on issues that were directly affecting the Black community including voting initiatives, police brutality, and racial inequality,” NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson said in a statement to Blavity. “LeBron epitomizes the type of leadership, sportsmanship, and commitment to social justice that we seek to highlight with our President’s Award.”

The four-time NBA MVP is particularly noted for opening the I Promise School, which provides education and mentorship to more than 1,400 students in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio. The 36-year-old is also spearheading the More Than A Vote initiative, which brings together athletes and artists to educate and Black voters.

Six-time NAACP Image Award winner Anthony Anderson will return as host of this year’s two-hour ceremony, which has previously honored celebrities such as Rihanna, Jay-Z, Lauryn Hill, Soledad O’Brien, Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Muhammad Ali.

The NAACP Image Award recipient is also recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit for initiatives like his digital platform, Uninterrupted, which empowers athletes to speak on issues outside of sports.  

“Coupled with his achievements in sports, business, philanthropy and activism, James’ diverse business portfolio of innovative partnerships and investments has established him as one of the most influential figures in the world,” the NAACP stated. 

As Blavity previously reported, James and his business partner, Maverick Carter, most recently became partial owners of the Boston Red Sox

“I see LeBron owning multiple teams someday,” Fenway Sports president Sam Kennedy told ESPN. “Not just NBA, but perhaps international soccer and maybe in Esports. One thing we’ve learned working with LeBron is that he sees the big picture. He has a track record of making smart decisions and looking for opportunities. He’s also been very successful financially, and that’s what you have to do to become a sports team owner.”

The Los Angeles Lakers star was named the Associated Press’ athlete of the year in 2020, along with tennis sensation Naomi Osaka, as Blavity previously reported. The two were particularly recognized for their activism against social injustices. 

“I still know what I do on the floor and obviously, I give everything to the game. But I can make a greater impact off the floor right now, more than I can on the floor,” James said. “And I want to continue to inspire people with the way I play the game of basketball. But there [are] so many more things that I can do off the floor to help cultivate people, inspire people, bring people together, empower them.”

The 52nd NAACP Image Awards will feature performances from Image Award Outstanding Female Artist nominee Jazmine Sullivan and Grammy Award-winning singer Maxwell. Other celebrities who will make appearances include Alicia Keys, Andra Day, Arsenio Hall, Cynthia Erivo, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Michelle Obama, Misty Copeland, Regina King, Samuel L. Jackson, the cast of Tyler Perry‘s Sistas, Swizz Beatz and Tracy Morgan.

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