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Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James watches from the bench during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

LeBron James donated $2.5 million to the Muhammad Ali exhibit at the Smithsonian

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LeBron James, his charitable foundation and business partner Maverick Carter are pledging $2.5 million for the "Muhammad Ali: A Force for Change" at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The Cleveland Cavaliers' player told USA TODAY he jumped at the opportunity to support an exhibit dedicated to honoring the professional boxing legend.

"I think of him every day. Without his passion and goals and morals, I don’t know if I’d be sitting here today talking to you about it," he said.

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LeBron James tweets about Muhammad Ali

James has not been shy about his adoration for Muhammad Ali.

Other players have donated

"Muhammad Ali is such a cornerstone of me as an athlete because of what he represented -- not only in the ring as a champion, but more outside the ring what he stood for, what he spoke for, his demeanor," James told USA TODAY Sports.

They join the list of founding donors to the museum that includes two NBA Hall of Famers. Michael Jordan donated $5 million.

Magic Johnson and his wife Cookie donated at least $1 million, according to USA TODAY.

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**ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND, JAN. 17-18** Shown is Muhammad Ali's boxing robe display at the new black history exhibit, "AmericaIAm: The African-American Imprint" at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. The exhibit is scheduled to fun from January 15 through May, 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

This photo was taken when Muhammad Ali's boxing robe display at the black history exhibit, "AmericaIAm: The African-American Imprint" at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia in 2009.

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