(TMU) — Basketball superstar Michael Jordan is giving back to his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina by opening two medical clinics that he is personally funding. The facilities will offer health care to underprivileged members of the community.
On Thursday, the emotional Jordan—a six-time NBA champion and owner of the Charlotte Hornets—gave a speech unveiling the Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Clinic, the first of two planned clinics, which he personally committed $7 million to alongside a pledge to serve those with limited or non-existent resources.
CNN reports that as tears flowed down his cheeks, Jordan said:
“As you can see, it’s a very emotional thing for me to be able to give back to a community that’s supported me over the years.”
The clinic, which is located in a lower-income section of Charlotte according to the Chicago Tribune, will provide much-needed access to primary and preventive care to locals. Patients will also have access to behavioral health and social support services.
The facility, which measures 6,800 square feet, is teeming with 12 exam rooms, an X-ray room, and a physical therapy space. A full-time social worker will also be on-hand to assist patients.
Jordan and Novant chose the location due to data showing that people in the neighborhood have a dire need for high-quality medical care.
Carl Amato, the CEO and president of Novant Health, said:
“This clinic will not only provide access to medical care for those who need it most, but it will connect them to resources to ensure their health extends beyond the doctor’s office.
We are so grateful for Michael Jordan’s continued partnership and generous gift, which will transform thousands of lives in the west Charlotte community.”
Michael Jordan donated $7.2 million to open up two new Novant Health Clinics in Charlotte that plans to provide care to underprivileged members of the community, per @theobserver pic.twitter.com/WupLde3V1S
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) October 18, 2019
Members of the community gave input on their needs at forums, meetings, and recruitment events after Jordan first announced in 2017 that he would commit $7 million to constructing the clinics.
The billionaire Jordan had previously come under criticism for largely ignoring social justice causes and failing to address issues of social and political importance to the black community, with some critics arguing that Jordan had become closer to wealthy white politicians and businessmen rather than common black people.
However, in recent years the NBA legend has engaged in a number of philanthropic pursuits, including hosting a celebrity invitational golf tournament and distributing the proceeds of a legal settlement to charities throughout the Chicago area, while donating several millions of dollars to a range of other charitable causes.
In a statement, Jordan said:
“I feel very fortunate to be able to give back in this way, because I believe that your ZIP code or neighborhood should not determine the quality of your health care—or whether or not you can even get care at all.”
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