Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand are giving US$100 million ($154 million) to organisations dedicated to promoting racial equality and social justice.
In a joint statement Saturday on social media, Jordan and the Jordan Brand said money will be paid over 10 years with the goal of "ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education."
"Black lives matter," the statement said. "This isn't a controversial statement. Until the ingrained racism that allows our country's institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of black people."
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Jordan, the 57-year-old former Chicago Bulls great, is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets. The Jordan Brand is a subsidiary of Nike, the shoe giant that earlier committed $NZ61 million over the next four years to support the black community.
Jordan also released a statement earlier this week on George Floyd and the killings of black people at the hands of police.
"I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," Jordan said. "I see and feel everyone's pain, outrage and frustration. I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough."
Floyd was in handcuffs when a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck as he pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Jordan's donation and impassioned recent statements followed criticism during his playing career over his reluctance to take a more prominent role in activist causes.
In the recent "The Last Dance" documentary, he addressed his infamous quip that he had steered clear of politics because "Republicans buy sneakers too." Jordan said the remark had been a flippant comment made as a joke. Jordan added that he never saw himself as an activist athlete in the vein of former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali.
"I do commend Muhammad Ali for standing up for what he believed in," Jordan said. "But I never thought of myself as an activist. I thought of myself as a basketball player." Jordan acknowledged that his apolitical stance might be viewed as selfish in some quarters.
"I wasn't a politician when I was playing my sport. I was focused on my craft," Jordan said. "Was that selfish? Probably. But that was my energy. That's where my energy was." Jordan said he had instead sought to set an example by his achievements as an athlete.
"The way I go about my life is I set examples. If it inspires you? Great, I will continue to do that. If it doesn't? Then maybe I'm not the person you should be following."
- AP with news.com.au