Former NBA Player Michael Jordan
By Patrick Darrington, Campus News Editor.
An avid sports enthusiast, legendary filmmaker Spike Lee ’79 showcased his impressive breadth of sports lore and love for HBCUs during his interview with the Maroon Tiger on Sept. 14. From addressing misperceptions about Michael Jordan owning private prisons to hoping the increased popularity of HBCUs is not a trend, enjoy some of the best moments in conversation with Lee.
Patrick Darrington: What strings did you pull to get Michael Jordan to donate $1 million to the Journalism program in May?
Spike Lee: Well, me and “Money” go way back. And if you notice, Mike has been writing checks, so I just have been putting in plugs for Morehouse over the years and (he)
came through. Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York. I’m from Fort Greene, Brooklyn. And there’s a hospital off Fort Greene called Cumberland Hospital. And you know who was born there? Michael Jordan, Mike Tyson, Bernard and Albert King. And they were all born in the same hospital. In the fort, Fort Greene. Can you imagine all those people born in the same hospital?
PD: Do you think Jordan has received a fair representation throughout the media?
SL: Here’s the thing that really hurt him, in my opinion. There’s a guy named Michael Jordan who owns privatized prisons. White guy, and word got out in the hood that guy was Michael Jordan. And I told Michael, I would tell him, ‘Mike, people in the hood think that you own privatized prisons.’ So, but some people still think that! Google this guy, his name is Michael Jordan, white guy. Was probably the last president. People thought that was Michael Jordan.
PD: What advantages do you believe this program holds for black students seeking to go into journalism or the media landscape as a whole?
SL: I just feel that there’s something special that you get at a historically black college and university: a nurturing that you’re not going to get at an all-white institution . . . Now our historically black schools and universities are hot! Hot! The vice president (Kamala Harris) has got everybody and their mama trying to get into Howard now. You know, you can’t get in! And there’s a lot more visibility about black schools but here’s the key thing: … we’ve got to make sure it’s not a fad. There’s not a trend. That we got to keep it going because there are a lot of black schools that are on the brink (of closing).