Michael Jordan defends selfish reluctance to politics
THE ANGELS: Michael Jordan has defended his infamous reluctance to be led to take a political party during his NBA career, saying he never saw himself as an activist.
In comments made on the latest episode of the hit documentary series The Last Dance on ESPN, Jordan referred to his often-quoted joke that he had strayed from politics because Republicans also buy sneakers.
Jordan said the comment, which occurred during the 1990 Senate race in North Carolina between Republican Jesse Helms and Democratic challenger Harvey Gantt It had been a cheeky comment made in jest.
Helms was a controversial figure who had been accused of racism throughout his career, a staunch opponent of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 who also opposed the establishment of Martin Luther King day as a federal holiday of the United States.
I don't think that statement needs to be corrected because I jokingly said it on a bus with Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen said Jordan.
It was thrown off the cuff. My mother asked to do a PSA (public service announcement) for Harvey Gantt, and I said, 'Look, Mom, I'm not speaking out of pocket about someone that I don't know. But I will send a contribution to support him. ' Which is what I did.
Jordan added that he never saw himself as an activist athlete in the line of the former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali .
I do commend Muhammad Ali for standing up for what I believed in, Jordan said. But I never thought of myself as an activist. I thought of myself as a basketball player.
Jordan admitted that his apolitical stance could be seen as selfish in some quarters.
I was not a politician when I was playing my sport. I was focused on my trade, Jordan said. Was that selfish? Probably. But that was my energy. There was my energy.
In the same documentary, former United States President Barack Obama said he believed Jordan could have spoken more.
I'll be honest, when it was reported that Michael said, 'Republicans also buy sneakers,' for someone who was preparing for a career in civil rights law at the time and knowing what Jesse Helms stood for, you would. ' I wanted to see Michael push harder on that, Obama said.
Jordan, now 57, insisted he had no regrets and said he had tried to set an example with his achievements as an athlete.
It will never be enough for everyone, and I know it, he said. Because everyone has a preconceived idea of what to do and what not to do.
The way I follow my life is by setting examples. If it inspires you? Great, I will continue to do so. If not, then maybe I'm not the person you should follow.