“Republicans buy sneakers, too” – Michael Jordan
During the fifth episode of “The Last Dance” Michael Jordan didn’t shy away from addressing one of his more perplexing career-defining quotes.
In the 1990s, a North Carolina Senate race began to heat up between incumbent Republican Jesse Helms and Democrat Harvey Gantt. Helms, who was widely known and characterized in political circles as “unabashedly racist” would go on to win the race partly due to the fact that Gantt was unable to secure a public endorsement from the state’s biggest cultural icon, Michael Jordan.
Following the defeat, Jordan was pressed by teammates as to why he didn’t vocalize his support for Gantt. His response? He simply shrugged it off and stated, “Republicans buy sneakers, too.” Thirty years later, Jordan claims that the comment was made in “jest” between teammates & doesn’t feel the need to correct the record.
“I don’t think that statement needs to be corrected because I said it in jest on a bus with Horace Grant and Scottie Pippen… It was thrown off the cuff.”
MJ would go on to claim that he donated to Gantt’s campaign privately following a plea from his mother.
“My mother asked to do a PSA for Harvey Gantt, and I said, ‘Look, Mom, I’m not speaking out of pocket about someone that I don’t know. But I will send a contribution to support him.’ Which is what I did,” said Jordan.
Revisiting this situation years later has led many folks wondering: what is the social responsibility of our biggest superstars?
Well, in MJ’s case, sticking-to-basketball may have inadvertently handed Helms the election – so you tell us.