Michael Jordan Pledges $5 Million to New African-American History Museum

Wikipedia//CC BY-SA 4.0
Wikipedia//CC BY-SA 4.0 / Wikipedia//CC BY-SA 4.0

When you walk into the Smithsonian Institution’s brand-new National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) this fall, you’ll see the name of one of history’s most famous athletes gracing a section of the museum’s Sports Gallery.

Earlier this week, the NMAAHC announced that retired basketball player Michael Jordan will donate $5 million to the institution—the largest gift the Smithsonian’s 19th museum has received from a sports star, CBS Sports reports. To honor Jordan’s contribution, a portion of the gallery will now be called “The Michael Jordan Hall: Game Changers.” The athlete will also donate a game-worn 1996 NBA Finals home jersey to the NMAAHC’s permanent collection.

The hall, the Smithsonian said in a news release, “is dedicated to the people and institutions whose actions changed their sport, transcended their game and transformed society.” Jordan will be one of the “game changers” highlighted in the exhibit, along with tennis great Althea Gibson, Olympic gold-winning track-and-field star Jesse Owens, and 14 other athletes.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to support this museum,” Jordan said in a statement. “I also am indebted to the historic contributions of community leaders and athletes such as Jesse Owens, whose talent, commitment and perseverance broke racial barriers and laid the groundwork for the successful careers of so many African Americans in athletics and beyond.”

Jordan isn’t the only famous figure to donate money or artifacts to the NMAAHC, which was first established in 2003 and is the only national museum to exclusively focus on African American life, history, and culture. Oprah Winfrey has given $13 million to the institution, prompting the NMAAHC to name their 350-seat theater the “Oprah Winfrey Theater.” Meanwhile, visitors will soon also get to see funk legend George Clinton’s infamous alien spacecraft stage prop, the P-Funk Mothership, along with a saxophone owned by jazz musician John Coltrane (donated by his son, Ravi Coltrane) and countless other artifacts.

The NMAAHC is slated to open on September 24, 2016. For more information, visit its website.

[h/t CBS Sports]

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