Many professional athletes have taken Gandhi’s famous quote “be the change you wish to see in the world” to heart and have stepped up not only in their own community but in others as well.
Below are just a few examples of what these exceptional players are doing to make our world a better place, one kind gesture at a time.
Players For The Planet
Chicago White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito and Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Ryan Burr spent a part of their offseason cleaning beaches in the Dominican Republic with Players For The Planet––a non-profit organization that brings athletes together in order to create positive change for our earth.
.@whitesox pitcher Lucas Giolito and @RaysBaseball pitcher Ryan Burr were part of a very special group this winter.
They joined some other athletes for a service trip to the Dominican Republic. @LGio27 | @players4planet 🇩🇴 pic.twitter.com/Jk1hVfVC7a
— MLB Players Media (@MLBPlayersMedia) February 21, 2023
“We can make a difference. We can make real changes and make an impact,” Burr said. “Being an advocate in your clubhouse, in your family, in your community… that’s what it’s going to take.”
Meanwhile, Giolito emphasizes how important it is for professional athletes to use their social media platforms and voices to be as impactful as possible.
Atlanta Falcons’ Pro Bowl guard Chris Lindstrom has been incredibly active in the community since entering the NFL as a first-round draft pick in 2019. From launching a Georgia chapter of Best Buddies International and surprising local teachers with a shopping spree for their classrooms to serving meals to families in need at the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House.
Inspired by his only sister, Best Buddies is the organization he holds nearest and dearest to his heart.
“She’s on the autism spectrum, and that’s why I’ve always had an appreciation and a love for people with intellectual disabilities,” Lindstrom said.
Inspired by his sister who was diagnosed with autism, Chris Lindstrom will represent Best Buddies Georgia for #MyCauseMyCleats. pic.twitter.com/4oYYKwkRVq
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) December 4, 2021
Marshawn Lynch may no longer be playing in the NFL, but that doesn’t mean we’ll forget about his commitment to handing out free turkeys around the Holidays.
Here’s a wholesome throwback:
Sherman: “What you doing for Christmas?”
Lynch: “Christmas?! I gotta get to Thanksgiving first. I’m going to give out turkeys back in the hood.”
One of my favorite Marshawn Lynch moments:
Sherman: “What you doing for Christmas?”
Lynch: “Christmas? I gotta get to Thanksgiving first. I’m going to give out turkeys back in the hood.”
Empathy. Kindness. Compassion.
PS: Video clip pre-Covidpic.twitter.com/Spcvhjz2sl
— MuslimMarine (@mansoortshams) May 30, 2021
The LeBron James Family Foundation
When LeBron James isn’t busy scoring 3’s, he’s focused on helping kid’s achieve more than just a bright future.
The LeBron James Family Foundation serves over 1,400 Akron, Ohio students by providing them with the programs, support, and mentors they need to succeed inside and outside of the classroom.
Hey Kid… 😉😊 When I think back to the beginning… you always knew you’d find a way to make a difference. It’s incredible how far you’ve come, and to think how far you still can go. Congratulations, @KingJames. We love you. 💚👑 #ScoringKing pic.twitter.com/WIuJ6qGXNX
— LeBron James Family Foundation (@LJFamFoundation) February 8, 2023
“Any chance I get, you’ll hear me say it loud and proud: I’m just a kid from Akron,” LeBron says. “And I say that because of the roots, the support, and the love my city has always given me. From my earliest days growing up in those streets, the community wrapped its arms around me. My mom and I had our challenges, but the people I was lucky to have around me would not let me fail.
I want to do everything I can to be that for my kids in Akron coming up behind me who have incredible futures ahead of them.”
And thanks to the foundation, he was also able to open a new public school in Akron.
How our kids from Akron feel about THE kid from Akron becoming the @NBA All-Time Leading Scorer. 🙌🥳🕺 pic.twitter.com/PMC1ONbg5M
— I PROMISE School (@IPROMISESchool) February 8, 2023
F*ck Cancer, End World Hunger
Futebol star Cristiano Ronaldo watched both of his parents battle the ugliest disease. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Ronaldo helps others who have gone or are going through the same pain by donating several funds to sponsor a cancer program in Portugal.
In 2019, Cristiano Ronaldo stopped the team bus just take photo with a 11 yr old suffering from cancer of the bloodpic.twitter.com/yKQNJSqrgT
— Delta (@UTD_DELTA) October 29, 2022
Father of cancer fighter River Ryan Rhodes:
“Our family shed tears of joy when Cristiano Ronaldo shared his photo on social media to his hundreds of millions of followers.” pic.twitter.com/OgvHfb26Yk
— CristianoXtra (@CristianoXtra_) February 10, 2022
But his generous efforts don’t stop there as he has also helped raise awareness for poverty and hunger.
So, boys and girls, kindness goes a long way, and professional athletes who use their platforms to spread goodness are extra special. You too can be extra special! 🙂