After facing years of criticism for failing to publicly lend his voice or resources to causes related to race, it was recently announced that Michael Jordan made a $5 million donation to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
The gift from the NBA Hall-of-Famer is the largest from a sports figure to the 19th Smithsonian museum, which is being built between the Washington Monument and the National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to support this museum,” Jordan said. “I also am indebted to the historic contributions of community leaders and athletes such as Jesse Owens, whose talent, commitment and perseverance broke racial barriers and laid the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.”
Two weeks ago, Jordan uncharacteristically made $1 million donations to both the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund because he was “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.”
To honor his gift, the museum will name a section of its sports gallery the Michael Jordan Hall where the inaugural exhibition in that space will feature artifacts associated with 17 “game-changing” athletes, including boxing legend, Muhammad Ali.
To date, the museum has raised more than $548 million. It is scheduled to be opened by President Barack Obama on September 24.
Learn more at the National Museum of African American History & Culture.