Today Michael Jordan did something big. As a basketball fan just hearing those words should fill you with a certain feeling you’ve maybe missed since he stepped away from the game, but on a more human level, in upside down times, Jordan used his words (and money) to do something important.
“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,” Jordan wrote in a letter released exclusively to The Undefeated. Jordan, who spent a career mostly avoiding talking about anything but basketball and the products he did commercials for showed us a different side of the player many consider to be the greatest ever: “I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.” He added, “I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent.”
Jordan also announced in the letter that he’d be giving two $1 million grants to two foundations that work to build trust between law enforcement and the communities they work in, the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. “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,” he wrote.
It’s easy to be critical of our heroes, and it’s not difficult to find plenty to dislike about Michael Jordan if you so choose, but at the end of the day, whether you think he’s the GOAT or you’re a Cavaliers still stinging over The Shot or its sequel, at the end of the day, at a dark time in America, Jordan came up big when we needed him to do it.