Conversation with Jordan Mickey, Real: 'I wanted to give back'

Nov 22, 2019 by Andy West, Print
Conversation with Jordan Mickey, Real: 'I wanted to give back'

In the last few years, it has become increasingly common for sporting stars and organizations to use their high-profile status for the greater good.

As well as supporting One Team – Euroleague Basketball's continent-wide social responsibility program which sees all 42 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup clubs support vulnerable members of their communities – many players are also taking it upon themselves to help out those in need with initiatives of their own.

Among the best examples of socially active players is Real Madrid center Jordan Mickey, who this summer made a six-figure donation to an initiative aimed at combating violent crime in his native Dallas.

"People look up to us and look to us for guidance, especially young kids."

Mickey, who does not want to disclose the exact amount of his donation, spent his whole childhood in the Texas city and still has close ties to his hometown, which experienced 40 homicides in May alone, according to reports.

"I love my city," he explained. "My mother and father still live there and I just wanted to do something to help drop the crime rate.

"I don't want to see any of my family or friends get hurt, so I did what I can do help the community. Dallas has a rising crime rate and this past summer it got really bad. It was starting to spread across Dallas and getting close to where my family lives. There has been a lot of violent crime, a lot of deaths.

"That made me feel unsafe. I wanted to give back to the community by putting programs in place and trying to stop the rise in crime."

Mickey believes that professional athletes are uniquely placed to exert a positive influence on their communities, both from a financial perspective and due to their status as role models for young people.

"Being sports professionals, we have a platform," he said. "People look up to us and look to us for guidance, especially young kids. They see us playing sports for a living and they want to do that themselves, and following that example can take them away from negative activities. As athletes I think we have to use our platform to help our communities. We can show young kids that crime isn't the way. There are other ways.

"When I was young, I stayed away from trouble because I spent a lot of time in the gym. I worked extremely hard to play basketball, and that kept me away from anything that could have been negative. My parents were also great role models and helped me out in life a lot."

"We can show young kids that crime isn't the way. There are other ways."

Mickey made his donation through his foundation, The Wright Way Builds A Future, by teaming up with a nation-wide initiative called 'I Think', which emphasizes the importance of education.

"It all starts with education," he stated. "We can't pick the families or environments we're born into, but we can control our outcomes.

"I feel we need to let kids know that, so I donated to 'I Think' because they are going into schools and communities, informing the kids and their parents about the issues we're facing in society and the negative effects they can have. They're raising awareness and I think it's a great thing to support.

"We've put in place after-school programs, tutoring programs, and we've installed computers in a local college in my community, so kids can go in there and do their homework. It keeps them out of the streets."

Off the streets and onto the courts.

From Dallas to Madrid, Jordan Mickey and many of his fellow professionals aren't only scoring points and winning games - they are also trying to change society for the better.