Michael Jordan has gone from prolific basketball player to philanthropist to now grandpa! Jordan recently announced his labor of love, a $7 million clinic he funded in his hometown of North Carolina.
He has now opened up about his newest love, his grandbaby Rakeem Michael Christmas. “It’s actually beautiful,” he said about his grandbaby’s unique name. Rakeem is his only daughter Jasmine’s baby boy she shares with Rakeem Christmas, a former NBA player and star player at Syracuse who has taken his talents overseas.
Jordan told NBC’s Today about how much he’s enjoying his first grandchild, 16 years after retiring. “Actually, it’s fun because I can actually hold him and play with him and I’m having fun watching him,” Jordan, 56 said. Jasmine is Jordan’s daughter whom he shares with ex-wife Juanita. He is now remarried to Cuban model Yvette Prieto. Jordan is in a new phase of his life and making his community his priority.
Last Thursday, the six-time NBA champion shed tears while making an emotional speech during the grand opening of the $7 million Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinic. The Novant Health Center is the first of two clinic facilities that Jordan will fund in the Charlotte area for people who are uninsured or under-insured and have a lack of healthcare or trouble accessing health or mental health services.
Jordan also shared his thoughts and lent his support on the issue of college athletes earning money through endorsements for their likeness.
“I think they should be paid some portion of money so that their basic needs are taken care of,” said Jordan. “There’s some complexity there that I think the NCAA is going to have to figure out. “Are they entitled to some compensation?” he asked. “Yes. What is that number? I don’t think anyone knows.”
Jordan, however, refused to touch the hem of the issue between the NBA and China involving Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Jordan mentioned he’s got his own issues with various Chinese companies that constantly violate his trademark. Now, Jordan is focusing on making a difference where it matters. Giving back on this level is something he says didn’t come until he retired.
The NBA’s Charlotte Hornets owner admits that during his time in the NBA he had “tunnel vision” and only focused on his career.
Now he said he has time to invest in people’s lives. “When I was playing, my vision, my tunnel vision was my craft,” he said. “I was a professional basketball player and I tried to do that the best I could…Now I have more time to understand things around me, understand causes, understand issues, problems, and commit my voice and my financial support too.” Now he says, “I feel like I’m making a difference.”
This Article Was First Published On thegrio.com