LeBron James receives NAACP Jackie Robinson Sports Award

23
Originally posted on

NESN.com

 | 
By Adam London
 | 
Last updated 2/2/17

The accolades for James keep coming, although this one has a greater meaning than basketball.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James is used to winning awards.

Now in his 14th season in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavalier star has won three NBA championships, four MVP awards and has been selected to 13 All-Star games.

On Wednesday, however, James received an award for his work off the court, the NAACP Jackie Robinson Sports Award. According to a NAACP press release, ” the award is presented to individuals in sports for their high achievement in athletics in addition to their contributions in the pursuit of social justice, civil rights and community involvement.”

While the award is named after Robinson, James understands he is not in the same company as the Brooklyn Dodgers legend or any other civil rights activist that paved the way. Rather, “he is just a byproduct of what they stood for.”

You can hear James’ full comment on the significance of the award below.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER:

42 SLIDES
Jackie Robinson: A remarkable life in 42 photos


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title: ‘Early years’,
description: ‘

Jackie (second from the left) was the youngest of five brothers and sisters. Robinson’s stay in Georgia was short-lived, as he moved with mother and siblings to California shortly after his father left in 1920. 

Hulton Archive/Getty Images


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src: ‘/media/f/c/fcdc6f425157dbd55573c9102af7ca3096729880/xl/3.jpg’,
title: ‘UCLA’,
description: ‘

Robinson became a four-sport star at UCLA, earning varsity letters in baseball, football, basketball, and track and field. 

Collegiate Images/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/d/0/d01fc8c73a35eac2aefc65894bf6626b1e58bcc6/xl/4.jpg’,
title: ‘UCLA’,
description: ‘

Robinson won the 1940 NCAA Men’s Track and Field Championships in the long jump. Surprisingly, in addition to playing football and basketball, he played just one season of baseball at UCLA, hitting only .097, not the start you’d expect to lead to a Hall of Fame MLB career.

Archive Photos/Getty Images


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src: ‘/media/9/a/9af421a9d9e1d3e269fb5a76e68bec93764ac3bd/xl/1.jpg’,
title: ‘Military career’,
description: ‘

Robinson was drafted in 1942 and served until 1944, when he received an honorable discharge after an incident where he refused to sit in the back of a military bus. He never actually saw any combat. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/7/4/74369c6dcaa238b1165198b446fa9b68db69170b/xl/4.jpg’,
title: ‘Negro Leagues’,
description: ‘

Robinson signed with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues, and it was here where he drew the attention of Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey. 

Sporting News/Getty Images


}
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src: ‘/media/4/b/4bdd9160bc80d17201f4f4e397230ef913842733/xl/3.jpg’,
title: ‘Marriage to Rachel Isum’,
description: ‘

Robinson married his college sweetheart in February 1946. 

Archive Photos/Getty Images


}
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{
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title: ‘Fatherhood’,
description: ‘

The couple welcomed its first child to the world later that year. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/d/c/dc1e70a70031009e7be0afbb9ccb3e8c730f25a9/xl/2.jpg’,
title: ‘Signing with the Dodgers’,
description: ‘

Late in 1945, Robinson signed his historic deal with the Brooklyn Dodgers, paving the way for him to become the first black player in Major League Baseball. 

Sporting News Archive/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/0/c/0c55303bf0ca7e4e9539d6f35e8cf76d02f09cbc/xl/3.jpg’,
title: ‘Minor leagues’,
description: ‘

Robinson spent 1946 in Montreal playing for the Royals, the AAA affiliate of the Dodgers. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/d/2/d2851f7f4f1abe886024c2bf9a7ef14eb785829f/xl/clubhouse.jpg’,
title: ‘The call-up’,
description: ‘

Just prior to the start of the 1947 season, Robinson gets the call from the Dodgers to come and join the big league club. 

New York Daily News archive/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/b/9/b9618b713fe2db863e3bb599df9ee58ec025358e/xl/42.jpg’,
title: ‘Number 42’,
description: ‘

He is assigned No. 42, which would go on to become arguably the most iconic jersey number in MLB history. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
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{
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title: ‘Meeting Leo Durocher’,
description: ‘

The Dodgers manager at the time was the legendary Leo Durocher, who was an outspoken champion for Robinson breaking the MLB color barrier. 

New York Daily News archive


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{
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title: ‘Debut with the Dodgers’,
description: ‘

Robinson makes his MLB debut on April 15, 1947, drawing a walk and scoring a run in a 5-3 win. 

Getty Images


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src: ‘/media/2/9/292f46a3005e5ddf74aa9fdb7a3d87e1939d412a/xl/4.jpg’,
title: ‘Life on the Dodgers’,
description: ‘

While not everyone on the Dodgers was excited to have Robinson on the team, most of his new teammates followed their manager’s lead and welcomed him onto the team with open arms. 

FPG/Getty Images


}
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src: ‘/media/1/c/1cebd33e6b03f88f6ae60a41ddfe82725ad64307/xl/5.jpg’,
title: ‘Rookie of the Year’,
description: ‘

Robinson’s first year was an unmitigated success, where he hit just under .300, while leading the league in stolen bases on his way to his first World Series. For his efforts, he was named Rookie of the Year. 

Gado/Getty Images


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title: ‘Friendship with Pee Wee Reese’,
description: ‘

One teammate in particular who came out in strong support of Robinson was Pee Wee Reese, who memorably once put his arm around Robinson, a gesture that was later memorialized as a statue in Brooklyn. 

Gado/Getty Images


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{
src: ‘/media/1/7/17f50c8828341faa01e75adc03100f160d5b901c/xl/allstar.jpg’,
title: ‘All-Star’,
description: ‘

Jackie Robinson was the first black player to make the All-Star team in 1949, and he made it five more times in each of the next five seasons. 

Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images


}
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{
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title: ‘Facing racism throughout his career’,
description: ‘

Robinson’s trials and tribulations while dealing with racism on and off the field are well-documented, but perhaps no one was as outspoken as Phillies manager Ben Chapman, who often hurled racial epithets at Robinson from the Philadelphia dugout. 

Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images


}
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{
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title: ‘Civil rights advocate’,
description: ‘

Long before his career ended, Robinson used his newfound fame to become a champion of civil rights across the United States. 

Cincinnati Museum Center/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/7/0/700422fa152021c32e5db0fa88b47ebf9cfccdab/xl/jrs.jpg’,
title: ”The Jackie Robinson Story”,
description: ‘

In the middle of his run with the Dodgers, Robinson starred in his own biopic in 1950, opposite Ruby Dee. 

John D. Kisch/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/b/d/bdc391d5d9ba4056ed9280d4f8ad089b581a0f25/xl/1.jpg’,
title: ‘Family life’,
description: ‘

Mr. and Mrs. Robinson ended up with a total of three kids: Jackie Jr., Sharon and David. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
,
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src: ‘/media/0/1/01b967014595dcd5d9cbaf8526eeff3a31366cf7/xl/nbc.jpg’,
title: ‘NBC’,
description: ‘

Robinson took a role at NBC in 1952, which would later lead to him breaking in to broadcasting following his retirement from baseball. 

Keystone/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/4/a/4abf028ce3946ca54220b91d0b2fb7ebde6fc464/xl/larrydoby.jpg’,
title: ‘Relationship with Larry Doby’,
description: ‘

A few months after Robinson’s debut, Larry Doby broke the color barrier in the American League, and the two quickly became close friends. 

Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/7/0/7066e19dad7251e769a2903fabbc2f732e414908/xl/MVP.jpg’,
title: ‘National League MVP’,
description: ‘

Robinson’s best year as a Dodger came in 1949, where he led the league in batting average and steals, while also scoring 122 runs and knocking in 124 runs on his way to his one and only NL MVP award. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/3/e/3e9d8e7044b93d7481595734e691f1bb87509f99/xl/ws.jpg’,
title: ‘Taking on the Yankees in the World Series’,
description: ‘

The Dodgers made it to the World Series a remarkable six times during Jackie Robinson’s tenure there but were bested by the Yankees during five of those trips. 

Mark Kauffman


}
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{
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title: ‘World Champion’,
description: ‘

In 1955, the Dodgers finally got over the hump and defeated their crosstown adversary, giving Robinson his only World Series ring. 

Ralph Morse/Getty Images


}
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title: ‘World Series victory’,
description: ‘

While the title would make the Dodgers the toast of the city, the celebration would be short-lived, as the Dodgers would move to Los Angeles in 1957, one year after Robinson retired. 

Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images


}
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src: ‘/media/f/9/f98bf38df83f083e5a0a1dfdfd63b72c6654142c/xl/hmphrey.jpg’,
title: ‘Political activist’,
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Robinson was all over the political spectrum, supporting candidates like Hubert Humphrey…

Gado/Getty Images


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title: ‘Political activist’,
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… to Nelson Rockefeller…

Gado/Getty Images


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title: ‘Political activist’,
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… to meeting Fidel Castro…

Gado/Getty Images


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title: ‘Political activist’,
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… and even supporting Richard Nixon’s presidential candidacy. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
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src: ‘/media/5/4/54f8323d140272c3d006551dc54cece96a857c73/xl/142312.jpg’,
title: ‘Civil rights advocate’,
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Robinson spent the late 1950s and early part of the 1960s fighting for civil rights…

Gado/Getty Images


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title: ‘Civil rights advocate’,
description: ‘

… including in this photo with boxer Floyd Patterson before the two boarded a flight to Birmingham. 

Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images


}
,
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src: ‘/media/1/3/13107a4dcf289026c6757cf0e52a4c181496f846/xl/giants.jpg’,
title: ‘Trade to the Giants’,
description: ‘

A little-remembered fact about Robinson is that the Dodgers actually traded him to the Giants following the 1956 season. However…

Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/2/5/2518fd5317494cb67776a4ec8fa3e94f4df5bd08/xl/12121212121.jpg’,
title: ‘Retirement’,
description: ‘

… he never suited up for them, instead announcing his retirement from professional baseball at the age of 37. 

Sports Studio Photos/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/c/7/c747cbbf3090e055ac62f16ec546344198d24bd9/xl/chock.jpg’,
title: ‘Chock Full O’Nuts’,
description: ‘

Upon retirement, Robinson became president of the Chock Full O’ Nuts company. 

Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/5/9/59bea0451e8d8f254429ce4badb6f72f0037d083/xl/hof.jpg’,
title: ‘Election to the Hall of Fame’,
description: ‘

Robinson was elected to Cooperstown in 1962, his first year of eligibility on the ballot. He broke down another color barrier, becoming the first African-American to be given baseball’s highest honor. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/1/8/18226468a706cc7553d220b9b7b4e11bea833ba8/xl/abc.jpg’,
title: ‘Broadcast career’,
description: ‘

In the late ’60s, Robinson did broadcast work for both ABC and the Montreal Expos, the city where his professional career began. 

Gado/Getty Images


}
,
{
src: ‘/media/a/b/ab75518c25784c91ceec17743db3f90c714167ae/xl/gm.jpg’,
title: ‘Football general manager’,
description: ‘

In 1966, Robinson became general manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers… of the Continental Football League, a pro football league that existed from 1965 to 1969. 

Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images


}
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{
src: ‘/media/b/5/b55f65984f0b9dab03a56a8652164cab52b681c3/xl/funeral.jpg’,
title: ‘Death’,
description: ‘

Jackie Robinson died on Oct. 24, 1972, from a heart attack at the age of 53. Nearly 3,000 people attended his funeral.

Gado/Getty Images


}
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title: ‘Legacy’,
description: ‘

On April 15, 1997, Jackie Robinson became the first athlete to have his number retired league-wide, and to this day, every player in the league sports No. 42 on April 15 as a tribute to the iconic Robinson. 

Joel Auerbach/Getty Images


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Jackie Robinson: A remarkable life in 42 photos

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