In a move that may literally set comment sections and Facebook walls on fire, Miami Heat star LeBron James serves as the pitchman for HealthCare.gov as part of the ACA , affectionately referred to as "Obamacare."
James has supported the President in the past, both financially and in public messages. He has a standing relationship with the commander in chief, and bringing on a figure of James' stature actually took a request from the President himself.
"Any way I can help the president, that's pretty cool," James said Wednesday night.
Bleacher Report has learned the form that help will take: a 30-second public service announcement, released in time for March Madness, in which the four-time MVP speaks about the importance of health care coverage. It is similar in style to the television spots featuring former NBA stars Magic Johnson and Alonzo Mourning, each of whom has dealt with a serious health issue—HIV for Johnson and kidney disease for Mourning.
According to an administration official, "The president greatly admires and respects LeBron, and we are excited that he is joining a number of other athletes in helping spread the word during these critical final weeks of open enrollment."
James welcomed the chance to communicate, collaborate and advocate—to speak to young adults who might not be "knowledgeable about health care and are also kind of waiting until the last minute" to sign up.
"It's almost like car insurance," James said. "You want to put yourself in a position where—you hope you never get into an accident—but if you do, you want to be secure. And I think a lot of young adults and African-Americans as well are afraid because they are not even educated about it. And hopefully my voice, and hopefully the other people who've done it, can get them more knowledgeable about it."
Few topics have been more controversial in some circles than what is commonly called Obamacare. James recognized the potential for some backlash, but it didn't dissuade him.
"I mean, I can't worry about that," James said. "Especially who I am. I mean, I know that everything that I do is going to be bigger than what it should be or blown out of proportion. But what I believe in and the people that I support is what it's all about. So I can sleep comfortably at night."
James and the Heat take on Miami Friday night.