Michael Jordan has donated $5 million to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, museum officials said Monday.
The gift is the biggest one a sports figure has ever given to the 19th Smithsonian museum.
“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.”
Museum Founding Director Lonnie G. Bunch III said, “His gift will enable our visitors to explore how sports were used to break barriers as a way to gain full participation in American society.”
Private donations to the museum, including Jordan’s handsome sum, are $278 million in total. Withfederal aid, the museum, which President Obama is set to open Sept. 24, has raised more than $548 million.
The basketball icon also gave his Chicago Bulls jersey that he wore during the 1996 NBA Finals to the museum’s permanent collection. To honor the gifts, the museum is naming a section of its sports gallery the Michael Jordan Hall.
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