Michael Jordan joins with Lowe's to launch literacy bus

Bus will travel county, giving away thousands of books

msprice@charlotteobserver.comApril 16, 2013 

Basketball legend Michael Jordan has made yet another gesture to show he’s serious about the Charlotte Bobcats becoming invested in the community’s charity needs.

In a partnership forged with Mooresville-based Lowe’s home improvement, the team unveiled a Book Bus Tuesday that will travel Mecklenburg County year round, giving away books to children at elementary schools and summer literacy programs.

Up to 6,000 books to be given out annually, officials said.

The announcement came at Albemarle Road Elementary School in east Charlotte, after a brief parade that included Jordan and his team, along with the Johnson C. Smith University band and staff from Lowe’s.

Team officials declined to release the cost of the 34-foot-long bus, which will travel around with a stock of 3,000 books. It was a sight that overwhelmed students at Albemarle Elementary.

“That bus is so big, I could live in there,” said Bryanton Walker, 8, after getting an autograph.

“If I can read all those books, I can get into college,” added Jacob Davenport, 8. “I want to be a preacher and a basketball player when I grow up.”

“Michael Jordan is tall and he’s really amazing,” said Kyara Washington, 7. “I just want to go in the bus and live in that pile of books forever and ever.”

Bobcats’ officials said the renovated school bus will travel the county year round, giving out free books to children ages 5 to 13 at CMS elementary schools and participants in the YMCA’s Y Achievers program, a mentoring effort that encourages teens to get into college.

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library will be a partner in the program, as a consultant on the books, which will be chosen based on their compatibility with CMS core curriculum. “When books go home, only good things happen,” said Charlotte Mecklenburg Library CEO Lee Keesler, who attended the event.

It’s the second time in four weeks that Jordan has made a gift to local charities. On March 21, he announced that the Bobcats and its broadcast partner, Fox Sports Carolinas/Sports South were giving $200,000 to the YMCA’s Y Achievers program, along with $5,000 scholarships for students at three area high schools.

Jordan, who is majority owner of the team, says he hopes to rebuild the team’s reputation for philanthropy in coming years, through donations and team involvement in causes.

Price: 704-358-5245

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