With Ohio being a swing state in next month’s presidential election, landing an endorsement from a famous resident of the state is something that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump would scoff at. Sunday night Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James announced his support for Clinton, doing so in an op-ed piece written for Business Insider.
Here’s what you need to know about James reasons for the endorsement, his work away from the court and other famous figures who have endorsed Clinton to this point.
1. James cited the need for everyone to work together to enact change as one reason for the endorsement
The son of a single mother who didn’t have it easy growing up in Akron, Ohio, James touched on those experiences and the children he’s working to help through the LeBron James Family Foundation in the piece. James made note of the need for people to work together in order to spark positive change, stating that to him “it’s clear which candidate believes the same thing.” And for him, that presidential candidate is Clinton.
She wants to make sure kids have access to a good education, no matter what zip code they live in. She’ll rebuild schools that are falling apart and put more money into computer science. She’ll make sure teachers are paid what they deserve so they can give everything to their students.
A significant portion of James’ piece focused on children and what needs to be done to help them, but he did also touch on the impact of violence in the African-American community and the need for a president who can help find solutions.
2. James expressed confidence in Clinton being able to address those concerns
While James stated in the piece that he himself did not know “everything it will take” to solve the problem of violence (all forms) within the African-American community, including recent violent incidents involving law enforcement, he did note that focusing on at-risk children in their respective communities would be something that needs to be done.
In regards to the confidence he has in Clinton when it comes to addressing the violence, James wrote the following:
“However, I am not a politician, I don’t know everything it will take finally to end the violence. But I do know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified. Policies and ideas that divide us more are not the solution. We must all stand together — no matter where we are from or the color of our skin. And Hillary is running on the message of hope and unity that we need.”
3. Clinton Will Visit Ohio on Monday
From a timing standpoint James’ endorsement comes at the right time for Clinton, who is scheduled to visit both Akron and Toledo on Monday. According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Clinton will give a speech at the Goodyear Hall and Theater in Akron Monday afternoon, with no exact time given for her appearance in Toledo. There’s also the question of whether or not there’s a chance that James makes an appearance. Cleveland doesn’t open preseason play until Wednesday night, when they host the Orlando Magic.
Clinton visited Ohio back in September, as she met with union leaders in Cleveland on Labor Day. According to RealClearPolitics.com, Clinton trailed Trump among voters in the state as of September 23 by just under two percentage points. Ohio has the seventh-most available electoral votes in next month’s election, with the winner of the state receiving 18 electoral votes.
4. James has stepped forward for multiple causes in recent years
While many star athletes of the past weren’t all that vocal when it came to social issues, that has not been the case for James. Of course there’s the LeBron James Family Foundation, which he founded early in his NBA career. Part of the Foundation is the “I Promise” campaign, which upon completion rewards high school graduates with a scholarship to the University of Akron. As of August 2015 there were 1,100 children in the program, and that number has grown over the last year.
As for social causes, James along with close friends and fellow NBA players Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade gave a speech during this year’s ESPY Awards that served as a call to all athletes to use their platforms to help promote social change.
As a member of the Miami Heat in 2012, James and his teammates wore hooded sweatshirts in a tribute to Trayvon Martin, who was shot to death by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman. And prior to a game between the Cavaliers and Brooklyn Nets in 2014, James was one of multiple players to wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts in response to the death of Eric Garner, which was ruled to be a homicide. However the officer involved, Daniel Pantaleo, was not indicted.
5. Multiple People With Connections to the NBA Have Endorsed Clinton
James joins a list that includes Carmelo Anthony, Stephen Curry and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban as those with NBA connections who have endorsed Clinton for president. In an interview with Business Insider, Cuban declared Donald Trump to be a “dangerous” presidential candidate. Trump’s response to Clinton inviting Cuban to last week’s presidential debate was saying via Twitter that “perhaps” he would invite Gennifer Flowers, a woman Hillary’s husband and the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton admitted to having an affair with in 1992.
Also supporting Clinton is Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who spoke at the Democratic National Convention in July, and former player and current vice chairman of the Atlanta Hawks Grant Hill. Hill’s mother Janet was Clinton’s roommate at Wellesley College. And according to Hoopshype multiple people with NBA connections have made donations to Clinton’s campaign, including former commissioner David Stern, current commissioner Adam Silver, Kings owner Vivek Ranadive and Nets owner Bruce Ratner.