Basketball great LeBron James will be the official starter when the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race celebrates its centenary this weekend, organizers of the endurance classic said Monday.
The Los Angeles Lakers forward, the NBA’s leading career scorer and a four-time champion, joins a list of celebrity starters who have carried out the ceremonial role over the decades.
Hollywood actor Brad Pitt was the starter in 2016, and Steve McQueen lowered the French flag to start the race in 1971, the year he starred in the movie “Le Mans.”
“King James” will unleash the 62-strong field Saturday.
“There’s nothing like seeing and experiencing sports at their highest level,” the 38-year-old said.
“It’s an honor for me to be part of this historic moment in motorsport and help celebrate the centenary of one of the biggest sporting events in the world.”
James is a partner in Fenway Sports Group, which co-owns the RFK Racing NASCAR team.
The U.S.-based stock car series is celebrating its 75th anniversary and has a special entry at Le Mans driven by seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, 2009 Formula One champion Jenson Button and 2010 Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller.