LeBron James named Time’s athlete of the year for work against voter suppression

Lakers' LeBron James points to the sky after winning the NBA championship
Time magazine has named Lakers star LeBron James its athlete of the year.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

LeBron James continues to earn accolades for his work against voter suppression. The Lakers star was named Time magazine’s athlete of the year on Thursday.

The Lakers star’s More Than a Vote organization helped organize and educate voters in the face of suppression, helping drive record turnout in the 2020 election.

“After nearly two decades in the NBA, James has fully embraced that his talent on the court is a means to achieving something greater off it,” Time wrote. “And this year, more than in any before it, he showed why he is unrivaled in both.”


He was also named one of Sports Illustrated’s sportspeople of the year with the award honoring athletes who excelled on and off the playing fields through community service and activism.

The Lakers need to look out for themselves and take care of their leader. If they want to repeat, they need LeBron James to take regular-season games off.

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“[It’s] being able to go out there and not only perform at a high level in what we do as far as our profession, but also being able to change lives and create opportunities, empower people and inspire people off the floor, not only in our communities but all over the world,” James said when asked about the Sports Illustrated honor earlier this week. “It means a lot to be a part of that group, to be the first ever three-time winner of this award. I’m very humbled. It means a lot to my family and my friends and the kids in my foundation and my school back home and my city of Akron where I come from.”

He said his work with More Than a Vote was particularly impactful.

“I think it worked out great. We were able to plan and then execute that and it was about basically educating and empowering people in their communities to get out there and exercise their right to vote,” he said. “And understand their right to vote, how important it is, not only to change what’s going on in America, but also change what’s going on in some of their own communities.

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“So, with the help of a lot of people, a lot of athletes, a lot of entertainers, a lot of local people that go around in their own communities making change, we were able to have some success. You look at the numbers through the election, it was the most turnout ever in election history of people who got out there and voted.

“And one thing about us, we didn’t tell you who to go vote for. We didn’t pick one side versus the other side. We just wanted to educate you and enlighten you and empower you and let you know how important your right is.”