Michael Jordan is known for a lot of things. The best basketball player to ever play in the NBA. Winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls. The first professional athlete to become a billionaire. The principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets. And, trash-talking while on the court. One thing Jordan is not known for is breaking the rules. But, he did and in a way, even the refs couldn’t argue with.
Michael Jordan’s touchingly caring side
In the biography on Jordan, The Life, by Roland Lazenby, Lazenby included an interview he had with Bulls Assistant Coach Johnny Bach,
“He [Jordan] always visited with some person or child who had a last wish. Every night he faced that, and I could never understand how he was strong enough to do it.”
On one particular night, a child who had his face badly burned by his father came to see Jordan before a game. The boy was brought into the Chicago Stadium’s dressing room. Jordan talked with him and brought him out to sit on the bench, Bach told Lazenby.
One of the officials went over to Jordan and said, “‘Michael, you can’t have that kid on the bench. It’s against league rules.’ And Michael looked at him and said, ‘He’s on the bench,'” Bach further recalled.
Jordan let the child sit on the bench the whole game. This was of course, against NBA rules but Jordan knew it was the right thing to do. This is a great example of the type of person he was.
Such a situation wasn’t uncommon for Jordan, although usually rules weren’t broken. Lazenby recorded what Tim Hallam, with the Bulls Media Relations Department, had to say about the incident and Jordan.
‘”He did those kinds of things all the time,” Tim Hallam remembered. “There was only one stipulation. He wasn’t doing it for the publicity. He insisted on keeping things quiet. Absolutely no press.”‘
Jordan’s dedication to helping others has never wavered. He has been the Chief Wish Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation since 2008 and has in combination brought in and donated more than $5 million to the organization. He alone has granted hundreds of wishes while working with the Foundation for more than 30 years.
A few of the other charities he has donated and worked with include: The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis, Cats Care, CharitaBulls, Jackie Robinson Foundation, James R. Jordan Foundation, Kids Wish Network, LIVESTRONG, Nevada Cancer Institute, Opportunity Village, Special Olympics, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, The Miami Projects, and the United Negro College Fund.
Keeping the people of Charlotte healthy
While Jordan was born in New York, he grew up in North Carolina having played high school ball in Wilmington, and college ball at the University of North Carolina. While his fame came through playing basketball with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan has never forgotten his roots.
A donation of $7 million to build two Charlotte medical clinics in poverty-stricken areas of the city is the “largest philanthropic gift” Jordan has made, reported The Washington Post. They will be named the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics, and are planned for opening toward the end of 2020.
Michael Jordan has always been generous
Jordan returned to the NBA from retirement for the second time, playing for the Washington Wizards, the announcement came shortly following the September 11, 2001 attacks.
He announced his entire first-year salary would be donated to relief efforts following the attacks. While at the age of 38, Jordan’s return was riddled with injury, he still was able to show he remained a top NBA player.
Jordan’s other philanthropy work includes his 2018 donation of multimillions to Friends of the Children for their national work and, more specifically, for what the organization has done in Charlotte and Chicago.
Also in 2018, Jordan donated $2 million for relief efforts following Hurricane Florence with $1 million to each the American Red Cross and the Foundation for the Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund.
Today, Jordan is chairman of the Charlotte Hornets Foundation. Furthermore, since Joran became the majority owner of the Hornets early in 2010, he and the team have given more than $3 million to various causes and organizations including those dealing with education, wellness, hunger, and the military.
Just who and where Jordan may help next remains to be seen, but he remains a positive and powerful figure in the world of sports. Something we expect from the 56-year-old former basketball star well into the future.