Michael Jordan, post 9/11 hero


As the world painfully remembers September 11, 2001 on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of this tragic event, it is fitting to bring up the case of Michael Jordan. A true hero in the storm, the hope of a knocked out America, His Airness was awe-inspiring that year. Perhaps the most beautiful thing he did.

On September 11, 2001, America was struck right in the heart. 2,977 dead, more than 6,000 injured, a huge trauma: shaken as never in its history, the United States was groggy, overwhelmed. In the world of sport, a name then served as a buoy in the shipwreck: Michael jordan. The legend of the Bulls, who signed his return that year, was one of those who allowed Uncle Sam to find his smile, his dignity, his pride. And how.

First, MJ delivered all of his salary for the 2001-2002 season to associations helping victims of September 11, and in particular to children who have lost a parent. But beyond any financial consideration, it is by his very presence that the Hall of Famer has given meaning to the lives of many people. Ted Leonsis, owner of the Wizards, recalls:

I was there when Michael Jordan decided to come back to play in the NBA after September 11. He immediately donated his salary to the cause – none of his higher paid counterparts did. I was there when he played his first game at Madison Square Garden to open the season and lift the spirits of the NBA. I was there the day before that game, when Michael Jordan went to Ground Zero, near the World Trade Center. He respectfully and confidentially met with the emergency services, spoke to them, consoled them, thanked them. No media was allowed.

During this period, MJ multiplied the actions in the shadows, to put a smile on the people affected closely. For the drama’s 20th anniversary, reporter Shaun Powell published a heartbreaking article. His brother Scott, a computer scientist, was killed at the World Trade Center when planes crashed into the towers. So when a senior NBA figure asked him what to do to alleviate his pain and that of his family, Powell took a chance: “Do you think my family can meet Michael Jordan? « . The following, the journalist tells it himself.

The biggest test of a star’s character is how she treats people who are nothing to her. And that Jordan did perfectly. There are too many stories, mostly unrecognized, with no media around, of Jordan spreading goodness when he himself had nothing to gain from the acts in question.

That day, at the Wizards’ training hall, we were waiting for the door to open. My niece and nephew, who was desperately missed by their father, hadn’t said much on the way. Then Jordan arrived. He immediately spoke to the kids and put them at ease: « Hey little one », « how are you guys? » »Then, with a hug:« Hi mum, how are you? We chatted, took a picture, he “slapped” the children. The moment lasted 7-10 minutes. That’s all my family needed.

5 years ago, I saw him again during an informal discussion with journalists. I had not seen him since that famous day. After his lecture was over, I headed for the door to leave. He stopped me: “Is everyone okay? « 

Michael Jordan and the Powell family (DR)

Present in the darkest moment in the history of the United States, Michael Jordan helped to raise thousands of people devastated by the attacks. Huge class.


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