Carmelo Anthony on Michael Jordan’s statement today. “I thought it was brilliant and about time he stepped up.” pic.twitter.com/D3htGey0MI
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) July 25, 2016
Past and present NBA and WNBA stars are becoming increasingly outspoken about the deadly tensions boiling over between police and the black community. Carmelo Anthony has been particularly vocal about the topic, first by joining Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and LeBron James onstage at the ESPYs earlier this month to deliver a impromptu call for peace, then by announcing over the weekend that he was spearheading a private forum of community members in Los Angeles to attack these issues head-on.
But one of the more surprising voices to emerge has been Michael Jordan, who during his playing days infamously balked about speaking out on dicey social causes, rather cynically pointing out that people all across the political spectrum are potential sneaker buyers. On Monday, however, the six-time champ broke his silence during an interview with The Undefeated, and in addition announced that he was donating $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.
The aforementioned Anthony praised Jordan during his forum in Los Angeles, “Leadership Together: A Conversation With Our Sons And Daughters,” but after hesitating a bit, added that it was long-overdue:
The Michael Jordan thing, I thought it was brilliant and…about time that he stepped up and said what he said. At the end of the day amongst us he is our face. I mean, he’s an African-American, a very powerful African-American, so for him to step up in the midst of these times right now, it was very big on his behalf. And not also just step up; it’s not always about money and giving back. But for him to step up and put his money where his mouth at, the timing was perfect.
Jordan has long been criticized for his reluctance to be a leader for social change, so his political and financial support adds a whole new dimension to the cause. Along with other major stars like Paul, Wade, and James, it’s signaling a new era of social consciousness in professional sports.