It’s Bigger Than Basketball: How Jordan and LeBron Could Team Up For A Bigger Cause

We know Michael Jordan has not been known for his political and social opinions and work. He has mainly stayed out of those discussions, once being quoted “Republicans buy sneakers too.” But in the wake up the Black Lives Matter protests, Jordan could no longer stay silent.

Jordan and the Jordan Brand announced that they will pledge $100 million to organizations dedicated to racial equality, better education and social justice. Jordan has yet to determine exactly where to donate the money considering the countless organizations out there. 

Thoughts have been thrown out there that Jordan could donate his money to scholarships for black students at any number of colleges, virtually any of the historically black colleges, like Howard University, for example. Others have mentioned donating a large sum of the money into inner city public school systems, particularly in Chicago, a city he called home for his playing career. Some have even suggested he continue to contribute to the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, like he did in 2016, gave $1 million. 

One thing’s for sure, Jordan will put money up, he just doesn’t have a feel for where to send that money. This isn’t his area of expertise. 

On the opposite side of the spectrum we have Lebron James. James has long spoken out about social issues, injustices, and has done so much for his community. Since 2011, the LeBron James Family Foundation has brought education, tutoring, and food for poor children and families. 

In 2012 James was a leading voice about the killing of Trayvon Martin. His awareness of social issues continued when he wore an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt after the death of Eric Garner. 

In the summer of 2016, James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony opened the ESPY award show with an important message. They spoke about police brutality against African-Americans. Here is a part of James’ speech

“Most importantly, (pro, wealthy athletes should) go back to our communities. Invest our time, our resources. Help rebuild them, help strengthen them, help change them. We all have to do better.”

And to his credit James has done just that. 

His social work hit an all time high in 2018 when he opened his “I Promise” public school in Akron Ohio. According to statistics provided by Akron Public Schools, the I Promise students showed growth in math and reading in the 99th percentile of all schools, which means students’ scores increased at a higher rate than 99 out of every 100 schools nationally.

Things have not changed. In the past few weeks James has been at the forefront of social media posts calling out injustices. But it is not just twitter fingers. 

James has already teamed up with other athletes to start an initiative called “More Than A Vote” to fix voter suppression. The issue was on full display in Georgia when voters waited 8-9 hours to cast their votes. The group includes LeBron, Atlanta Hawks rookie Trae Young, Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green, ESPN analysts Jalen Rose and Chiney Ogwumike. The group’s focus is to team high profile athletes up with activists who are on the ground fighting to correct this issue. 

Expect to see LeBron and his fellow star athletes vocal on social media, drawing attention to suppression tactics. They might appear in TV commercials or attend voting-rights rallies.

James’ success dealing with social issues is next to no other athlete. But when we talk about the country wide reform needed, he will need all the help he can get.

So it got me thinking: What if Jordan and LeBron, two people often pitted against each other on the court, joined forces for this bigger than basketball cause? 

Jordan clearly wants to help give back to the communities that helped him get to the status he lives at now. James has been extremely successful at doing so. James has the right connections and understanding of what needs to be changed and impacted.

While James is financially capable of getting things done without the backing of Jordan, the two joining forces would be more powerful than either of the checks they can cash. 

A simple phone call between the two living legends could go a long way. 

Leave a Reply