Michael Jordan spoke plainly Friday about why he and Jordan Brand are joining to donate $100 million over 10 years to support racial equality.
“We have been beaten down (as African-Americans) for so many years. It sucks your soul. You can’t accept it anymore. This is a tipping point. We need to make a stand. We’ve got to be better as a society regarding race,” Jordan said in a Q&A with Rick Bonnell, Hornets beat writer for The Charlotte Observer. Jordan is the Hornets’ majority owner.
“Face up to your demons. Extend a hand. Understand the inequalities,” he told Bonnell as he challenged people to change their behavior.
The donations will go to organizations “dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education,” Jordan and his Nike-affiliated apparel maker said in the release. Jordan told Bonnell the organizations have not been chosen.
The donations are the latest and largest corporate response to date in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in the custody of a white police officer in Minneapolis on May 25. Floyd’s death sparked protests against police brutality and racism across the United States and worldwide.
Jordan, 57, has been criticized at times during his playing career for not being more of an activist. Forbes estimates he is worth over $2 billion and is the fourth-wealthiest African-American.
The company plans to continue its Jordan Wings Program, which has provided college funding for over 1,800 students in the U.S. and China.
Sporting News’ Tom Gatto contributed to this report. This article has been updated with new comments from Jordan.