Michael Jordan, without a doubt, is one of the most influential figures in sports and beyond. This means that a lot of fans look up to the legendary basketball player giving him the power to sway their even their personal opinions.
Unfortunately, he’s also been criticized before for not using his influence to shed light on the injustices that his fellow black people have faced over the years. All that will change now though, as the former NBA star takes a stand against racial inequality.
But before we look at the admirable things Jordan is doing these days, let’s first look back at his famous missteps.
His silence was particularly deafening during the North Carolina senate bid of Harvey Gantt, an African-American politician, against a known racist in 1990. As you may already know, Jordan grew up in the state, making him the perfect person to vet Gantt’s candidacy.
However, he deemed a public endorsement inappropriate even when his mother asked him to speak out for Gantt. Jordan instead quietly donated $2,000 to the politician’s campaign.
Gantt ended up losing the senate bid.
The legendary athlete’s silence on political and controversial matters has been attributed to his desire to keep his business interests secure. He has even reportedly joked about how Republicans also buy sneakers back in the day.
That’s all in the past now. Jordan has been making up for his previous shortcomings for some years now.
Back in 2016, he released a statement condemning police killings of black people and even made a $2 million donation to two organizations: the NAACP and the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP).
This seems to pale in comparison, though, when compared to his latest efforts.
Amidst widespread protests following the death of George Floyd and other unarmed black people due to police brutality, Jordan pledged to donate $100 million of his fortune to support organizations fighting for social justice and racial equality. The amount would reportedly be given away within a decade.
Speaking through his manager, Estee Portnoy, the 57-year-old Jordan said that it’s never too late to make a difference.
He also noted that now is the perfect time for him to focus more on creating social change. He would’ve never had the same energy to give to the cause during his days as a professional NBA player, Jordan admitted.