US civil rights pioneer and congressman Lewis dies aged 80

Last Updated: 18/07/20 11:03am

John Lewis: LeBron James leads sporting tributes to civil rights icon | News News


Some of the largest names in sport have paid tribute to civil rights pioneer John Lewis who has passed on

Some of the biggest names in sport have paid tribute to civil rights pioneer John Lewis who has passed away

LeBron James is among the sports stars to have paid tribute to John Lewis after the American civil rights leader and congressman passed away at age 80.

Four-time NBA MVP James tweeted his condolences, writing: “Rest. In. Paradise John Lewis. #CivilRightsICON. THANK YOU!!”

Lewis was the youngest and last survivor of the ‘Big Six’ civil rights activists, friends led by Martin Luther King Jr that fought for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1965, Lewis led several protesters over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama before being set upon by State Troopers, a decisive turning point that paved the way in which for the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

He later served as congressman for Georgia’s fifth congressional district from 1986, serving in the House of Representatives.

His impact transcended politics, however, and Lewis was the type of who lent their support to Colin Kaepernick as well as other NFL players who chose to kneel during the national anthem.

NBA all-star Chris Paul added his tributes, tweeting: “Thank you for keeping the dream alive all these years and paving the way for us #RIPJohnLewis”

Basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweeted a photo caption and also paid tribute to Lewis’ tireless activism, adding the lessons he results in will keep on to resonate.

Abdul-Jabbar said: “The first time I met John Lewis I was very emotional shaking his hand because it was such an essential life event for me.

“John Lewis’ stature in the Civil Rights Movement was gigantic and the example that he set for individuals like myself will endure.

“I’m glad that he got to see the efforts of his past sixty years of activism bear such precious fruit these last few months as people took to the streets, just as he had, to fight for a just and free America.”

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