Michael Jordan was the undisputed king of the court and the most prominent athlete of his era but never spoke on a social or political issue. Some considered it a disappointment that MJ didn’t use his platform to speak up more. He is credited for saying “Republicans buy sneakers too.” during an election in North Carolina, so many assumed he didn’t speak up to protect his business interests.
In recent years MJ spoke up about poverty, the gun issue and many other hot political and social topics in the United States. As a part of the opening of the clinic, Jordan explained the truth behind this (via Today):
“When I played my vision, my tunnel vision was my craft. I was a professional basketball player, and I tried to do that the best I could. Now I have more time to understand things around me, understand causes, understand issues, problems, and commit my voice and my financial support.”
MJ said he supports all athletes that want to get involved with social or political issues that they are passionate about, as long as they understand the causes and the context around them. He didn’t comment on China as he has an ongoing court case over his brand over there. He did give support to another hot topic in the sports world.
“I think they (college athletes) should be paid some portion of money so that their basic needs are taken care of. There’s some complexity there. I think the NCAA will have to figure out. Are they entitled to some compensation? Yes. What is that number? I don’t think anyone knows.”
It’s great to see MJ speak up and give support to players who use their platform to raise awareness and do good around the world.