LeBron James might be America's most visible labor activist right now - and he's garnering support from Bernie Sanders
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- LeBron James recently tweeted in support of a bill that would allow college athletes to get paid for endorsements, part of his larger effort to decrease NCAA restrictions on paying players and agents.
- James has advocated for player rights throughout his career - from opening doors for players to switch teams easily, to structuring NBA contracts for greater flexibility and higher salaries.
- The three-time NBA champion also created several media endeavours that center player voices and allow them to advocate for themselves, instead of through the mouths of media pundits.
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As athletes break bones and work endlessly for a chance to play, team executives trade "loyal" players freely as a part of the business, or reap millions while college athletes can't get paid.
Now, the country's most famous male athlete is continuing to fight for more player leverage over organizations.
And he helped spark the era of "player empowerment" in the first place.
Read more: Steph Curry says he deals with high-pressure situations by tensing all the muscles in his body and then releasing them
"The idea of athlete autonomy - of a player having more control and power over his or her own career, of not just being an employee of an owner who is not the one out running and dunking - has caught on in the public consciousness in a way it had failed to before," Will Leitch, noted sports journalist and the founder of Deadspin, wrote for NBC News. "James' move [to Miami] was the instigating act."
Here are all the ways James has advocated for player and labor rights during his career:
James just tweeted his support for one of the most controversial topics in college sports: paying players.
The NBA star produced a documentary highlighting the financial difficulties college athletes face. The film criticized the NCAA's refusal to pay players for their labor.
James again clashed with NCAA earlier this summer after he criticized a rule that would prevent non-college graduates from representing players.
James' advocacy for player empowerment didn't start recently. His decision to form a super team in Miami helped lead to greater player independence during the offseason.
James opened the door for players to freely choose where they want to play.
James' one-year deals also established that he was in control of where he wants to play, not the organization.
James founded his own media company to give players a platform to advocate for themselves.
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