Calling Michael Jordan a living legend seems like an understatement, and perhaps a tad disingenuous given that the 6-time NBA Champion is considered by nearly everybody — including his peers, the “other greats” — as being the greatest basketball player of all time.
Jordan is acknowledged by the NBA for setting the standards of professionalism and ethics in the sport. When current MVP caliber players hail the 5-time NBA Champion and recent retiree, Kobe Bryant, as “OUR generation’s Michael Jordan,” you can only then partly grasp his lasting effect on generations to come.
But his effect on other players doesn’t stay on the court. Jordan also set the standard for athletes to pocket billions, not just from endorsements, but from being the first to leverage his talent into creating his own shoe and clothing brand.
Ask 2-time consecutive Most Valuable Player, Steph Curry. Forbes just estimated his endorsed value to Under Armour at over 14 billion dollars.
Jordan’s influence will continue to be residual for many years to come.
However, the one thing Jordan does not do is speak publicly on social and political issues. Ever.
Hardcore anything-Chicago-sports-fan, Michael Wilbon, from ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, and a longtime personal friend of Jordan, confirmed on his show Monday that Jordan is famously known to not speak out publicly about anything social or political. But he did admit that if you ran in his inner circle, he would be open about his opinions on issues.
Silencing personal advocacy could stem from the fact that Jordan — tragically and publicly — lost his father when he was shot to death coming home from a funeral.
The death of Jordan’s father affected him so emotionally that he hung up his “Jordans” for a humble pair of baseball cleats, because his father had always been a diehard fan of the Major Leagues. The living legend honored his father’s wishes by joining an AAA squad — a division just below the majors.
So it may come as a huge surprise that the living legend’s humility has gotten the best of him again when he decided to take a stand and speak out.
Jordan diplomatically stated he was “…deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers.”
Troubled and emotionally perturbed, Jordan condemned both sides for senseless acts of violence and decided to make two equal one million dollar donations to the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The entirety of Jordan’s statement can be read here:
“As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.
I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported.
Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.
To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement.
Although I know these contributions alone are not enough to solve the problem, I hope the resources will help both organizations make a positive difference.
We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”
Michael Jordan’s silence on social and political issues is now crystal-clear. He’s afraid to alienate his fans by picking a side. This is why he chose to donate an equal amount to both sides.
What do you think of his statement and the donation amount to both sides? Tell us in the comments below.