Michael Jordan grew up in Wilmington North Carolina. His hometown was ravaged by Hurricane Florence and he’s stepping in to help.
The former NBA champion donated $2 million Tuesday to helps the people of the Carolinas. Jordan gave $1 million each to the American Red Cross and the Foundation For The Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund, the AP reported.
Jordan, owner of the Charlotte Hornets and six-time NBA champion, said he’s “one of the lucky ones” in that he’s able to help.
“It just hits home,” Jordan told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I know all of those places: Wilmington, Fayetteville, Myrtle Beach, New Bern, and Wallace, which is where my father is from. So quite naturally it hits home, and I felt like I had to act in a sense that this is my home.”
The 55-year-old Jordan said he still has an aunt, cousins and several buddies who live in coastal North Carolina. He also has a nephew who attends UNC Wilmington, which has remains closed while recovering from the damage.
He watched television with extra concern last week when the hurricane pounded the area, causing 34 known deaths — including 26 in North Carolina — and leaving behind damaged homes, power outages and extensive flooding.
Jordan spent the days after trying to get in touch with family and friends to make sure they were safe. He was relieved upon learning they were uninjured.
“At the end of the day, it makes you think about the path that you have taken, and where your life has taken you,” Jordan said. “And I just feel like, well, maybe if I can help in some sort of way all of the people, and all of the places, that have helped me along the road.”
Jordan spoke to the Charlotte Observer Tuesday as his donation was made public.
He told the paper, “You gotta take care of home.”
According to the Observer, the “scenes of the destruction from rain and wind in both North and South Carolina had him flashing back to old haunts.”
Meanwhile, his team tweeted using the hashtag #SwarmToServe encouraging people who are able to follow Jordan’s lead.
Jordan told the Observer he hoped people would be inspired by his giving and, “I hope people understand the importance of this and direct their attention to making things better.”
The Observer reported that the Hornets are stepping up as an organization to help in relief efforts including packing “thousands of disaster food boxes in partnership with the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Metrolina and Food Lion” and are selling online a ‘Carolina Strong’ t-shirt with proceeds going to the Foundation for the Carolinas relief fund.
The 55-year-old played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. Jordan is reportedly worth in excess of $1.65 billion.