There have been so many impactful Black athletes this list was very hard to narrow down. However, this list is based on impact throughout my lifetime. To put it in perspective, I am in my early 20s. I have seen these athletes not only change their sport but change other people’s lives. So while many may argue or debate, this is no matter of the such. We must enjoy our fellow Black athletes and honor their contributions just as much as the last. Let’s be honest, without any of these amazing individuals, there would be little progress.
So, let’s not allow this piece to cause a debate or argument, instead, it should cause amazing memories and celebrations.
Kyrie Irving is the first person that appears on the list because of his impact on the youth and nation’s lives. Many may not know, Irving donated $1.5 to WNBA players to players who opted out of playing in the bubble just last year. The WNBA is notoriously known for not treating its athletes with the best care. Unfortunately, the majority of WNBA players must go overseas just to live comfortably because their regular salaries don’t pay sufficiently enough.
This doesn’t include the $323,000 he’s donated to Feeding America, per Sports Illustrated. Irving donated 250,00 meals to feeding New Yorkers as well. The masses see Irving as a problem child essentially and fairly selfish individual. However, many fail to make the distinction as Irving the player and Irving the person.
During the George Floyd tragedy, he unexpectedly bought the Floyd family a house, reported David Williams for CNN. Former NBA player and now podcaster, Stephen Jackson, who were really good friends with Floyd and his family briefly spoke about Irving last January.
“Kyrie Irving bought them a house. … so I think God has definitely blessed her and right now she’s doing the best she’s ever done, she’s happy,” Jackson told host Etan Thomas on the podcast.
On @etanthomas36's podcast, Stephen Jackson revealed that Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) bought a home for George Floyd's family. @DaTrillStak5 also thanked @lilbaby4PF (who paid for Gianna Floyd's birthday party), @BarbraStreisand and more.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) January 18, 2021
Many recognize LeBron James as the G.O.A.T in the game of basketball. He’s also considered a mogul amongst his peers and society. Over the past decade, he’s begun truly making progress within society and affecting the youth. James has made it his business within the last few years to spearhead political and social issues. He’s begun utilizing his voice to affect change on his platforms. James is one of the most popular athletes throughout the world let alone country, so his voice matters, in so many words.
“That’s why it is easy for me to root for LeBron,” reported NBC News. “I appreciate his sense of history, his commitment to his Blackness and doing things on his own terms.”
James has even started an elementary school, I Promise School (IPS), in Akron, Ohio. He funded this juncture by utilizing his charity foundation, LeBron James Family Foundation. He states that the school motto is “ We are family,” and he specifically aims his focus at high-risk children. His goal is to alter the children’s trajectories and create better futures for them and ultimately the Black community.
Gabby Douglas has been a social media sensation since she changed the entire scope of Olympic sports. They began grading her on a much different scale because she was that dominant in her sport! The judges found ways to penalize her while allowing other contestants to make the same actions.. Once this was discovered, it forced her to take a step away. Instead, she uses that time to focus on herself and her craft even more.
Douglas has found ways to be impactful within the community by donating tons of money to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, according to EBONY. During her step away from gymnastics, she began mentoring younger girls and helped to raise money for people who suffer from Breast Cancer.
“I think it means a lot. Especially people who are overcoming breast cancer. And for the kids to be able to raise so much money is just so amazing,” Douglas said.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick struggled with the NFL outside of the lines based on his stance socially. Many misunderstood his silent protest when he began kneeling to highlight the alarming rate of police brutality at the time. While this is still occurring more than it ever should, at that specific time, it was an alarming rate.
According to TMZ Sports, donated $1.75 million to “Black and Brown” communities and did their fair share to assist in COVID-19 relief. Kaepernick’s charity, “Know Your Rights Camp” dedicates itself to assisting communities of color. Specifically, the communities dealing with the most trouble due to COVID-19.
In addition, a representative of the organization says the group has teamed up with Impossible Foods to assist with those experiencing food insecurity since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, reported Elizabeth Swinton for Sports Illustrated.