The Crusader Newspaper Group

African-American Museum Wins New Fans: Athletes

By Marc Tracy,

For Justise Winslow, a young forward on the Miami Heat, the most memorable part of his team’s early-season visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture was the permanent presentation on Muhammad Ali. The section honoring Ali abuts the larger athletics gallery, a spatial acknowledgment that his significance is too capacious to be contained even by the wide world of sports.

“Him standing up for his religion, not going into the draft,” Winslow marveled in a recent interview. “Everything he stood for is pretty amazing.”

“If anything,” he said of the museum’s sports exhibition, “I felt inspired.”

In a year when the White House has become a fraught Washington destination for athletes, the African-American history museum — which opened last September to great fanfare and critical acclaim — has quickly become a must-see attraction for visiting players and teams.

The Arizona Diamondbacks were the first professional team to visit, according to museum officials, arriving during a swing through Washington soon after the museum opened. Hank Aaron has toured it. So have Emmitt Smith and Kobe Bryant.


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