Legendary basketball player Michael Jordan donated $2 million in funds he made from this year’s wildly popular documentary “The Last Dance” to Feeding America, the organization said Nov. 25.
“In these challenging times and in a year of unimaginable difficulty due to COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to pause and give thanks,” Jordan said in a statement. “I am proud to be donating additional proceeds from “The Last Dance” to Feeding America and its member food banks in the Carolinas and Chicago to help feed America’s hungry.”
“An incredible gift to be thankful for – NBA legend Michael Jordan is donating $2 million to help our neighbors facing hunger!” Feeding America said in an accompanying tweet.
An incredible gift to be thankful for – NBA legend Michael Jordan is donating $2 million to help our neighbors facing hunger! #TheLastDance
Every action makes a difference. Join Michael & visit https://t.co/ExF6iX3wr7 to learn how you can donate or volunteer this holiday season. pic.twitter.com/UVUFQlbe0p
— Feeding America (@FeedingAmerica) November 25, 2020
According to CNN, Jordan’s donation came just weeks after Feeding America warned that more than 54 million Americans were at risk of becoming food insecure, a number not seen since the height of the economic recession a decade ago.
“What we’ve seen has been, unfortunately, a steady level of greatly, significantly increased need since the pandemic started,” Katie Fitzgerald, Feeding America’s chief operating officer, told CNN. “About 40% of the people who are showing up for food distributions have never before had to rely on charitable food assistance.”
Earlier this year, ESPN and Netflix released “The Last Dance,” a 10-part documentary series about Jordan’s career with the Chicago Bulls — particularly with the team’s sixth and final championship run in 1997-1998.
Jordan profited from the documentary because, in his playing days, he had opted out of a clause in the NBA Player’s Association’s collective bargaining agreement, allowing him to retain control of his likeness. And while the Bulls agreed to have a film crew follow the team all season long in 1997-98 in the hopes of eventually producing an all-access documentary, Jordan only agreed to participate if he could retain control over the release of the footage.
It took nearly two decades to convince Jordan to release the footage, but in April, ESPN moved up the release of “The Last Dance” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and the footage was aired publicly for the first time.
“The Last Dance” won an Emmy award for “outstanding documentary” earlier this year, beating out another pandemic phenomenon — “Tiger King.”
According to Feeding America, a $1 donation can provide 10 meals to families in need, meaning Jordan’s donation could provide 20 million meals to hungry Americans in Chicago and the Carolinas.
To donate to Feeding America, click here.
By Alex Hider, NBC26.