Michael Jordan is giving back once again. This time, he’s investing $5 million in a museum dedicated to African-American history. The multi-million dollar contribution to the National Museum of African American History and Culture bests another $2 million dollar gift last month.
Atlanta Black Star reported Jordan donated $1 million each to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The two organizations are dedicated to improving police relations with the Black community. The move marked a departure for the retired NBA player, who has often shied away from commenting on social issues.
The former Chicago Bulls player was criticized for not doing enough for Blacks, especially relating to racial violence with police. Kevin Blackistone questioned Jordan’s new-found altruism.
“I’m hard-pressed to believe that you are emotionally moved by the extra-judicial killing of Black men in this country and then cut a check to the police,” Blackistone said on ESPN’s “Around the Horn.”
Rapper Killer Mike recently urged Jordan to do more by placing profits from the upcoming Gold Medal Air Jordan into a Black-owned bank.
The Smithsonian announced Jordan’s latest contribution Monday. It is the biggest from an athlete, as fellow NBA retiree Magic Johnson and baseball great Hank Aaron have also made donations.
In recognition of the Jordan’s gift, the Washington, D.C. African-American history museum will name a section of its sports gallery “The Michael Jordan Hall: Game Changers.” The exhibit will feature 17 “game-changing” athletes, including track-and-field star Jesse Owens – who won a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Berlin 80 years ago today – tennis pro Althea Gibson and Jordan himself.
The two-time Olympic gold medalist also gave a jersey he wore during the 1996 NBA Finals to the museum’s permanent collection.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to support this museum,” Jordan said in a statement. “I also am indebted to the historic contributions of community leaders and athletes such as Jesse Owens, whose talent, commitment and perseverance broke racial barriers and laid the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.”
On Yahoo, users had mixed feelings about the donation.
Tony thought Jordan’s gift was not enough to show he cared.
RandR said it was an example of what Obama should do for the Black community.
A user named Who saw it as Jordan finally not caring about “upsetting white America.”
The National Museum of African American History and Culture will open Sept. 24.