When you ask someone who they think the greatest basketball player of all-time is, many would say Michael Jordan. Jordan was a six-time NBA champion of the Chicago Bulls (and Washington Wizards later in his career) that became a sports icon. Since retiring for good in 2003, Jordan has stuck around the NBA, and is currently the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
Because of his success throughout his career, it’s estimated that Jordan’s net worth is around $1.4 billion. Recently, Jordan put some of that money to good use, making a $7 million donation to help build medical clinics in the lower-income areas of Charlotte, North Carolina. Jordan’s donation will be able to open two clinics in the community, and the massive gift from the former NBA star will build the new Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinics.
Jordan became inspired to help with certain communities in Charlotte after reading a study that he came across from both the University of California-Berkeley and Harvard University. The study showed that children in low-income areas in Charlotte were the least likely to come out of poverty than in any other major metropolitan area in the United States. This caused Jordan to start conversations with Novant to help rebuild parts of the community.
Jordan’s spokeswoman Estee Portnoy said in a statement that “Michael really wanted to do something personally, he and his family, in the North Carolina area, separate from the work we’ve done with the Hornets.” Jordan released a statement of his own, saying he wanted “to bring critical health services to underserved areas of Charlotte and the thousands of North Carolinians with limited access to health care.”
Jordan also said that he hopes the clinics “will help provide a brighter and healthier future for the children and families they serve.” Jordan and his Charlotte Hornets franchise have been teaming up with Novant since the company started in 2004. “Through my years of working with Novant Health, I have been impressed with their approach and their commitment to the community,” Jordan said.
Carl Armato is the President and CEO of Novant Health, and he said that “Michael’s been a wonderful partner for us at Novant Health. This is not the first time that he personally has had such a dedication and commitment to the community and to our patients.” He added that “This gift will transform the lives of thousands of families and children living in poverty-stricken communities. We are thankful to Michael for his generosity. The gift will remove barriers to high-quality health care in some of the most valuable communities.”
Novant says that the clinics will have a large impact, reducing the uses of emergency rooms by nearly 70 percent and overall hospitalization by nearly 40 percent in the poverty-stricken areas. Around 35,000 of people in the Charlotte area that would normally go to the emergency room for a non-emergency would see a benefit from having the clinics open without having to go into massive debt. That’s because the clinics will be “an avenue to affordable, high-quality care – including behavioral health, physical therapy, social work, oral health and family planning – to individuals in the community who have little or no health care.”
Jordan has had some large donations to charitable organizations in the past, but the $7 million gift has been his largest to date. Novant’s CCO said that the donation is massive in many ways, because even putting his name on something is just as notable as a the donation. Jesse Cureton is the CCO, and he said that many organizations “would love to have an iconic person like Michael select them. They would pay him. For him to select us to partner in this way, and he’s never done this before, we’re pretty proud.”