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5 Athletes Who Have Made A Social Impact In The World

Virat Kohli & Lebron James
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Sports and society have been intertwined since time immemorial, and countless athletes have used their global image and following to raise awareness for the various social issues that need correcting. Be it Colin Kaepernick taking a knee, Tommie Smith raising a fist at the 1968 Olympics or Muhammad Ali taking a stand against the Vietnam War, sports stars have changed the world – or at least raised awareness – with their actions. 

On this International Men’s Day, we celebrate five athletes who have made a positive impact in this world and have been role models for society.



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A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames)

Lebron James has often been compared to Michael Jordan, Larry Bird or Kobe Bryant as the greatest basketball player of all time, but what separates King James from the rest has been his impact off the court. James has not only been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, but has also opened the ‘I Promise’ school in his hometown of Akron in 2018. The tuition-free public elementary school is specifically aimed at at-risk children and includes perks such as guaranteed tuition to the University of Akron for graduates and job-placement services for parents. James has described the school as the most important professional accomplishment of his life.



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A post shared by Lewis Hamilton (@lewishamilton)

Lewis Hamilton is not only one of the greatest F1 racing drivers to ever get behind a wheel but has also already left a lasting legacy away from the track with his commitment towards social causes and equal representation in F1. Earlier this year, the 7-time World Champion launched a new charity foundation – Mission 44 – and has personally pledged over $30 million to support diversity and inclusion in motorsports and help empower underrepresented youth groups in Britain.



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A post shared by J O S H C A V A L L O (@joshua.cavallo)

In October 2021, Josh Cavallo became the first – and only – male professional footballer to come out as openly gay. Despite fears of how this would impact his career, the Adelaide United star displayed tremendous courage and bravery to publicly reveal his sexual orientation in what is a testosterone-filled sport. Cavallo has sent a powerful message of inclusivity that will inspire future generations, and the long-term legacy of his actions will outmatch anything most stars could ever do on a football pitch.



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A post shared by Virat Kohli (@virat.kohli)

As the captain of the Indian cricket team, Virat Kohli holds a platform that is unlike any other athlete on the planet, and the 33-year-old has used his voice and following to raise funds and create awareness for various causes in India. Kohli started the Virat Kohli Foundation in 2013 which has been working towards creating a better tomorrow for India’s underprivileged youth, while also supporting potential athletes to reach the pinnacle of their sport as well as providing welfare and support to 1000’s of stray animals in Mumbai.



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A post shared by Marcus Rashford MBE (@marcusrashford)

While the Covid-19 pandemic and various lockdowns brought the world to a halt in March 2020, Marcus Rashford used his free time to support vulnerable children that needed urgent food support. Rashford raised £20 million worth of funds to provide meals to over 3 million people and campaigned for the UK government to provide free school meals to kids during the lockdown. Rashford’s campaign forced the government into changing their policies and continue to provide free meals to kids during the summer and winter holidays. In recognition of his efforts, Rashford was awarded the MBE during the Queen’s Birthday Honours for 2020.