Space Jam: A New Legacy Star LeBron James Named Le Mans Starter

cleveland cavaliers' lebron james 23 gets fouled by golden state warriors' draymond green 23 in the fourth quarter of game 7 of the nba finals at oracle arena in oakland, calif, on sunday, june 19, 2016 the cleveland cavaliers defeated the golden st
LeBron James Named Le Mans StarterMediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images - Getty Images

As the NBA's all-time leading scorer and the global face of the sport of basketball for 20 years, LeBron James is an extraordinarily famous person. As a hundred-year-old motor race that has been directly responsible for the performance car as we know it today, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an extraordinarily famous race. Other than that and a name that starts with "Le," the two have nothing in common. Somehow, that changes on Saturday.

LeBron James, he of the four NBA MVP awards and the bad Space Jam sequel fame, has been named the honorary starter of the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans. The choice is a significant departure from tradition. While the Indianapolis 500 has long chosen celebrity starters, the title of Le Mans starter has typically been reserved for automotive executives and other major event partners. Stars from outside the world of racing have been given the honor just a handful of times since the tradition began back in 1949, with Brad Pitt most recently serving in the role back in 2016.

Now, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and one-time romantic comedy star has taken a break from fielding important phone calls from former teammates to become the highest-profile celebrity starter in the history of the race. James, who attended the inaugural Formula 1 race in Miami last season, will be the one to start the hundredth anniversary race. Given that this year's event also marks the debut of new top-class entries from Ferrari, Porsche, Peugeot, and Cadillac and the lone announced appearance of a one-off NASCAR stock car designed for endurance racing, the extra dose of celebrity only adds to what was already the most exciting single car race of any sort in quite some time.

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