Michael Jordan gave $7 million to open two medical clinics in poor areas of Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s the largest philanthropic gift ever from the GOAT, who has been criticized for not using his platform as the world’s most recognized athlete to do much besides sell shoes.
— Renee Chou (@chouchoutv) October 10, 2017
That narrative is shifting. Mike hasn’t gotten soft in his old age, but some say the heart, like the ears and nose, never stops growing. Though he was born in Brooklyn, raised in Wilmington, and crowned in Chicago, Jordan’s ties to Charlotte and the state of North Carolina deepen ever year he owns the Hornets.
The money will be used to open two Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics, and they’ll be located north of uptown Charlotte in the poorest area of the city; a world away from the owner’s box at Spectrum Center.
Jourdan’s spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy, said that a 2014 study from Harvard and the University of California at Berkeley that found that poor kids in Charlotte have the worst odds of anywhere in the nation to lift themselves out of poverty stuck a chord with Jordan.
“Michael really wanted to do something personally, he and his family, in the North Carolina area, separate from the work we’ve done with the Hornets.”
Estee Portnoy, Michael Jordan spokeswoman
The clinics are slated to open sometime in 2020, 38 years after Jordan hit the game-winning shot for the North Carolina Tar Heels over Georgetown to win the NCAA tournament.
A lot has changed in the four decades since Jordan hit that shot. The three-point line has been introduced, he won six NBA Championship rings, and he’s worth about $1.5 billion more than he was back in ’82.
Jordan’s partner with these clinics, Novant Health, a four-state network of clinics, physicians clinics, outpatient centers, and hospitals, estimate that the clinics will provide care for 35,000 children and adults who don’t have adequate access to healthcare, and could decrease emergency room use by two-thirds in those neighborhoods.
It’s great to see Jordan giving back to the community. His legacy on the hardwood is secure, but the true test of his character will be what he does in the years to come.