During last night’s airing of “The Last Dance,” ESPN looked into Michael Jordan‘s history when it comes to social justice and how he never liked to play the political game. Back in 1990, Jordan was asked to endorse an African-American Democrat who was running for office. Jordan refused to do so at the time because he simply didn’t know enough about politics to say anything.
Jordan also infamously got himself in trouble by saying the phrase “Republicans buy sneakers too.” This made MJ seem like he only cared about money and that politics meant absolutely nothing to him. At one point in the documentary, former President Barack Obama even weighed in on MJ’s now-famous comments.
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“I’ll be honest, when it was reported that Michael said ‘Republicans buy sneakers too,’ for somebody who was at that time preparing for a career in civil rights law and public life, and knowing what Jesse Helms stood for, you would have wanted to see Michael push harder on that,” Obama said. “On the other hand, he was still trying to figure out, ‘How am I managing this image that has been created around me, and how do I live up to it?’”
For many, what Jordan said shouldn’t even be seen as an issue. At the end of the day, politics are a tricky thing and not everyone has to partake in them. Some would argue that MJ had a responsibility to be political although that’s another debate entirely.