Michael Jordan has often received flack from his peers for his unwillingness to take a stand or even issue a statement as it relates to happenings in the world for fear that it would impact his ability to sell shoes to the masses - perhaps best immortalized in the 1995 book, The Second Coming, that he didn’t support a senate run by Harvey Gantt because, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, in a 2015 NPR interview, said of Jordan, “He took commerce over conscious. That’s unfortunate for him, but he’s got to live with it.”
Despite the criticism, Jordan has become more vocal in recent years.
In addition to donating money to President Barack Obama's campaigns, he also took a hard stance as it related to disgraced NBA owner, Donald Sterling, and has spoken up against an anti-LGBT bill in the state of North Carolina that forced a change in venue for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game.
“Hornets are opposed to discrimination in any form, and we have always sought to provide an inclusive environment," Jordan said in a statement.
Today brings news that Jordan has decided to voice his opinion in the wake of countless shootings of African American men and subsequent violence against the police as an act of retaliation.
"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. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well."
“I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers – who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all – are respected and supported."
“Over the past three decades I have seen up close the dedication of the law enforcement officers who protect me and my family. I have the greatest respect for their sacrifice and service. I also recognize that for many people of color their experiences with law enforcement have been different than mine. I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change."
“To support that effort, I am making contributions of $1 million each to two organizations, the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s newly established Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Institute for Community-Police Relations’ policy and oversight work is focused on building trust and promoting best practices in community policing. My donation to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s oldest civil rights law organization, will support its ongoing work in support of reforms that will build trust and respect between communities and law enforcement. 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.
“We are privileged to live in the world’s greatest country – a country that has provided my family and me the greatest of opportunities. The problems we face didn’t happen overnight and they won’t be solved tomorrow, but if we all work together, we can foster greater understanding, positive change and create a more peaceful world for ourselves, our children, our families and our communities.”