Updated Oct 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Obama praises LeBron James' voting drive for Black districts

LeBron James (L) speaks to U.S. President Barack Obama (R) during an event to honor the NBA champion  in the East Room at the White House on January 28, 2013 in Washington, DC.

LeBron James and President Barack Obama at the White House in 2013. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

NBA star LeBron James' More Than a Vote campaign to increase the number of poll workers in Black electoral districts has recruited 10,000 volunteers since it launched in the summer, the New York Times first reported Wednesday.

Of note: Later Wednesday, James' voting movement received a glowing endorsement from former President Barack Obama, who appeared virtually alongside other NBA greats, including Shaquille O'Neal, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Clyde Drexler, and More Than a Vote poll workers during game 1 of the NBA finals between the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Obama said he wanted to "give a shoutout to all the folks who are volunteering" for More Than a Vote. "It is absolutely vital for our democracy and I appreciate you," he said.

The big picture: More Than a Vote's "We Got Next" initiative is a collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

  • The groups said in a joint statement that the next phase would focus on 11 cities "where significant poll worker shortages remain": Birmingham, Alabama; Jackson, Mississippi; Houston and San Antonio in Texas; Charlotte, North Carolina; Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit and Flint in Michigan; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Flashback: LeBron James forms voting rights group to inspire black voters

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of Obama's appearance and his remarks.

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