Michael Jordan celebrates his 60th birthday on Friday, and instead of buying himself a new car or hitting the casino with all the cash he’s made over the years, he decided to donate to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
In true MJ fashion, he set a record with his donation of $10 million, which is the highest donation made to the 43-year-old foundation by a single party at one time.
For more than 30 years, MJ has been actively supportive of the Make-A-Wish foundation, remaining as one of the most popular wish requests from children suffering from critical illnesses to this day. The first wish he granted was back in 1989. In 2008, he was named Make-A-Wish Chief Wish Ambassador “for the life-changing impact he has had on wish kids and their families,” according to the organization.
Michael gave a statement regarding his donation.
“For the past 34 years, it’s been an honor to partner with Make-A-Wish and help bring a smile and happiness to so many kids,” he said. “Witnessing their strength and resilience during such a tough time in their lives has truly been an inspiration. I can’t think of a better birthday gift than seeing others join me in supporting Make-A-Wish so that every child can experience the magic of having their wish come true.”
The Make-A-Wish mission states, “Wishes are more than just a nice thing. And they are far more than gifts, or singular events in time. Wishes impact everyone involved—wish kids, volunteers, donors, sponsors, medical professionals and communities. For wish kids, just the act of making their wish come true can give them the courage to comply with their medical treatments. Parents might finally feel like they can be optimistic.”
And this exceeds beyond just being a belief the organization holds near and dear.
According to a research study that started in 2010 and expanded in 2022, – which was led by the foundation – wishes are more than just an exciting experience, they actually have proved to make a difference in the “physical, mental, and emotional health” of the children whose wishes came true.
“[The wish experience] was a necessary part of the medical treatment journey,” the study pointed out, “improved the odds of survival, provided a support system and better health outcomes, and gave the child a better chance of recovering from their critical illness,” citing that it “increased hope, strength, joy, confidence, self-esteem, quality of life, and well-being.”
Make-A-Wish America’s President and CEO, Leslie Motter, expressed her gratitude to Jordan for his continuous dedication and involvement in their pursuit of giving critically ill children hope for survival and a chance to make their dreams come true.
“Everyone knows about Michael’s legacy on the basketball court, but it’s what he has consistently done off the court when no one’s watching that makes him a true legend for wish families and the wider Make-A-Wish community,” she said. “Michael using his birthday as a chance to make history for Make-A-Wish speaks to the quality of his character and his loyal dedication to making life better for children with critical illnesses. We hope that the public will be inspired to follow in his footsteps by helping make wishes come true.”
Michael is a six-time NBA champion, five-time MVP, fourteen-time All-Star, and is in debate for being the greatest basketball player of all time. He officially retired 20 years ago and has since become the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.