but I could certainly see the case for someone like Lebron 50 years from now. There is a lot of time before some of the recent (or current) athletes will pass on for the humanity side of it to be formed.
It will be interesting to see how LeBron's post playing career plays out.
You have a guy like Magic, brought huge awareness to HIV, did things like Magic Johnson Theaters which brought movie theaters to overlooked communities, but I think now he's thought as more of a businessman than some great humanitarian.
Michael Jordan is probably similar, has done a lot for charities
, but is really thought of more as a business man than anything else now. Shaq too.
And these are all guys with huge amounts of charisma. If anybody was going to be seen in a great humanitarian light, you'd think it would be these guys. But I just think the business aspect overshadows it all. They're seen as businessmen first who give to charity second. (The opposite would probably be someone like Mutombo, seen as a humanitarian first, and not someone just trying to make money).
I think LeBron will probably play out similar to those guys (Magic, Jordan, etc.). His quest to be a billionaire (achieved according to Forbes
) will overshadow the charity (like the I Promise schools).
Guys like Russell and Kareem had the "benefit" of playing in the Civil Rights era and before the money got to insane levels to help shape their humanitarian reputations/outlooks. It would take a superstar doing something like Kaepernick or speaking out against China to really set them up as a humanitarian icon now. Someone needs to boycott something other than back-to-backs.