CHARLOTTE – Michael Jordan’s impact on the game of basketball and his basketball brand reaches worldwide.
But Jordan’s charitable impact on local students was on display March 21, when he visited West Charlotte High.
Jordan, owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats, and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth donated $200,000 to the Y! Achievers Program, a YMCA of Greater Charlotte program which partners with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools to help teens set college and career goals.
The donation is part of the pair’s new sponsorship of Y! Achievers. Jordan and FOX Sports Carolinas/SportSouth Senior Vice President and General Manager Jeff Genthner also announced the formation of three $5,000 academic scholarships: One each on yearly basis to a student at West Charlotte, West Mecklenburg and Vance high schools.
The former NBA star and sneaker icon said the goal of his team’s Cats Care community relations program and the new sponsorship was to put students in a position to give back to their communities after becoming successful.
“When I first took over the team, that department was kind of being cut loose,” he said.
“We felt the need to add it back. Over the last two or three years, we’ve ramped it up a little bit to give back to the community, because I felt like the integration between (the Bobcats) and the community wasn’t strong. We have to be strong. We want to bond with the community.”
The plan, he added, is to help more local schools. Jordan said he plans to give more money to other academic causes in the region in the future, with donations likely to be higher dollar amounts.
“This really is a perfect example of a partnership,” Genthner said.
“When your business is predicated on the community you serve, you feel a need to give back to the community.”