It might be hard to top the accolade bestowed on him by ESPN as "...the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century," but to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois, Michael Jordan is truly an MVP in every sense. His longstanding commitment to meet with wish children has never wavered, and that is why his inspiring story is highlighted as one of the Leaders In Joy as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois' 25th Anniversary celebration.
Ever since starting his career with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, Michael Jordan has been helping kids in Illinois fulfill their wishes along the way. As he worked his way to his amazing professional accomplishments - leading the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championship titles, earning a gold medal at the 1992 Olympics, playing professional baseball, and completely redefining the athletic shoe business - Jordan continued to change lives by meeting children with life-threatening medical conditions through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Meeting most of the children in Chicago, and now in North Carolina where he is Chairman of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats, he spends time getting to know each child and patiently poses for photos and signs autographs with the wish children and their families. Over the past 25 years, Jordan has been involved with granting nearly 200 wishes for children from around the world.
The Chicago Bulls organization also played a large part in children's wishes to meet Michael Jordan when he was in Chicago, providing game tickets to families and Bulls merchandise for children to have as souvenirs of the day their dream came true.
"For more than 20 years, I have had the privilege of doing something so simple, yet so life-changing, for children," Jordan says. "It's always inspiring for me to see the smiles and joy that each child experiences. It's an honor to serve as the Foundation's Chief Wish Ambassador and enable more children in Illinois and across the country to receive their fondest wishes."
Jordan's constant dedication to fulfilling the wishes of kids facing life-threatening illnesses surpasses any other in our organization, especially here in Illinois. As the Chief Wish Ambassador for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, he personifies that wishes impact not only the children who receive them, but everyone involved with creating a joyous experience for a child with a life-threatening medical condition.
Michael Jordan is not just a legendary sports hero; to the Foundation he is a hero of a different sort, one that provides hope and joy to kids who need it the most. As a Leader in Joy, Michael Jordan truly knows what it means to share the power of a wish®.
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