Considered by many as the GOAT – or greatest of all time – of basketball, Michael Jordan has set his fair share of records on the court, but he just set another major record by donating a whopping $10 million to Make-A-Wish. The donation, given just ahead of his 60th birthday, is the largest donation the organization has ever received from an individual in its 43-year history.
Jordan hopes his donation will inspire others to celebrate his birthday on Feb. 17 by donating to Make-A-Wish, which brings surprises, or "wishes," to children diagnosed with terminal diseases. Many children wish to meet celebrities, like Jordan, or to have experiences like going to Disney World.
Jordan, who quickly rose to fame after joining the Chicago Bulls in 1984, granted his first wish in 1989 and has since granted hundreds more. He is still one of the most requested celebrities by wish recipients, according to the organization.
"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," Jordan 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."
One of the notable wishes he granted was for an 11-year-old in 2000. A girl named Katie dreamed of becoming a basketball player but was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to put her dream on hold as she received treatment. Meeting Jordan through Make-A-Wish helped reignite her passion for the sport.
"Thinking about [meeting Michael] helped me get through all of my treatments," Katie said. "It gave me something else to dream about and think about."
She not only overcame her brain tumor, but she went on to become a staff member for Make-A-Wish Mid-Atlantic for five years.
Make-A-Wish will use Jordan's donation to make future wishes. Jordan's philanthropy often makes headlines as he donates to several charities a year, including Boys and Girls Club, of which he is an alumnus. In 2021, Jordan, who is a North Carolina native and owns the Charlotte Hornets,in North Carolina, regional health care provider Novant Health announced.
While a $10 million donation and hundreds of wishes granted makes him one of Make-A-Wish's greatest benefactors, Jordan does not hold the organization's record. That's John Cena, the wrestling star and actor who, starting in 2002, has granted a total of 650 wishes and received recognition from Guinness World Records. No one else has granted more than 400 wishes.