Michael Jordan has famously avoided taking hard stances throughout his career in the NBA, and in the years since. Over the last week, that has shifted in a big way.
In the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, giant protests and demonstrations have broken out around the country. The NBA community, including a number of star players, have been very active, both in promoting the protests and actually attending them. Earlier this week, Jordan made a rare statement about the ongoing situation.
“I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry. I see and feel everyone’s pain, outrage and frustration,” Jordan’s statement from earlier in the week reads. “I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough.”
Now, he and Jordan Brand are putting some serious money behind those words. The organization has pledged $100 million over 10 years to “organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.”
Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand are committing $100 million over the next 10 years to protecting and improving the lives of Black people through actions dedicated towards racial equality, social justice and education. #JUMPMANhttps://t.co/CZDt1UdPwF
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) June 5, 2020
The pledge is one of the most significant we’ve seen to come from the sports world amid the ongoing crisis. More, via the company’s release:
“Through our Jordan Wings Program, we have been focused on providing access to education, mentorship and opportunity for Black youth facing the obstacles of systemic racism. But we know we can do more. In addition to the investment from NIKE Inc., we are announcing a joint commitment from Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand to donate $100 million over the next 10 years. We must join forces with the community, government and civic leaders to create a lasting impact together,” said Craig Williams, President of Jordan Brand. “There is still more work for us to do to drive real impact for the Black Community. We embrace the responsibility.”
As a basketball player, Michael Jordan’s brand was already unimpeachable. The Last Dance, ESPN’s 10-part documentary series on the legendary guard and his 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, helped drive that home. Many have considered a lack of activism a missing part of his legacy.
Of course, there’s no time like the present. Decades after his retirement, he continues to build on it.