I was there when Michael Jordan decided to return to play in the NBA after 9-11. He immediately donated his NBA salary to the victims and charitable causes—none of his higher compensated teammates volunteered to help.
I was there when Michael Jordan went to play his first game at Madison Square Garden to open the new NBA season after 9-11. He helped to uplift the NBA and New York City.
I was there the day prior to the first game after 9-11 when Michael Jordan went to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center. He respectfully and confidentially met with first responders—talking with them, consoling them and thanking them—no camera crews or media allowed as he was not seeking acclaim or press attention. He was not even concerned with his own personal safety and well-being—just unselfishness and teamwork.
I was there when Michael Jordan walked the floor of the New York Stock Exchange meeting with business leaders and the traders on Wall Street. He thanked them for helping to get the economy back up and running. He then rang the closing bell for the country’s first day back to business after 9-11.
I was there for our first home game at what was then the MCI Center when NBA Commissioner David Stern welcomed the NBA back to play. That night, we thanked the first responders and paid homage to the lives lost at the Pentagon. Michael Jordan was there front-and-center leading with empathy.
I was there at the NBA Board of Governors meeting when Michael Jordan spoke with passion about the safety of our players and fans as we debated our strategy around the coronavirus pandemic.
I was there when my good friend Peter Guber, chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, noted film producer and co-owner of the Golden State Warriors, told me about “The Last Dance” and how Michael Jordan and Curtis Polk were working to get the 10-hour documentary onto ESPN to provide programming and support to our best media partner during this time of change and uncertainty.
I will be joining all of you tonight to watch the premiere of the first two episodes of this highly anticipated documentary. I have seen the first-hour preview and it is awesome!
Michael Jordan has grace, dignity and generosity at his core. He is also the most competitive human being the world has ever seen. I pay homage to his benevolence and generosity.
“The Last Dance” premieres tonight on ESPN at 9:00 p.m. ET. Click here for details and for the full broadcast schedule.