Since entering the public spotlight, Charlotte Hornets owner and basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan has remained mostly apolitical. However with the recent spate of police shootings and the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, Jordan wrote an open letter for ESPN's The Undefeated about his feelings surrounding the racial issues that are causing strife across the nation.
Jordan also donated $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund:
As a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been 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. I grieve with the families who have lost loved ones, as I know their pain all too well.
"I was raised by parents who taught me to love and respect people regardless of their race or background, so I am saddened and frustrated by the divisive rhetoric and racial tensions that seem to be getting worse as of late. I know this country is better than that, and I can no longer stay silent. We need to find solutions that ensure people of color receive fair and equal treatment AND that police officers - who put their lives on the line every day to protect us all - are respected and supported.
I have decided to speak out in the hope that we can come together as Americans, and through peaceful dialogue and education, achieve constructive change.
Jordan is just the latest member of the NBA community to openly talk about these issues as Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade have all voiced their opinion on the matter as well.
But because of his legacy as a player and the fact that he has so rarely spoken out on political issues, Jordan's open letter is quite significant. However, as he even acknowledges, Jordan inserting his voice among the many calling for justice may not result in much. Yet M.J. does carry a lot of weight, and if one of the best basketball players of all-time is asking for people to come together, then perhaps there are reasons to be optimistic about change.