A Champion in Every Respect
Brian Jordan wanted more, something lasting and fulfilling that only comes from giving of oneself to charity and community.
The baseball box score reflects individual and team performance. What it doesn’t reflect, however, is the athlete’s character or his habits and interests when he is not playing ball. As we are painfully aware, many get hooked on drugs; others rake in millions but go broke.
We are dismayed when we learn about the gambling habits of the all-time hit leader, Pete Rose. We hear about the plight of players like Curt Schilling and Lenny Dykstra who made multi-millions but lost it all.
Then there’s Brian Jordan, who played with deep commitment, managed his money wisely and embraced altruism to make the world a better place. Jordan is one of the few athletes to play two professional sports, football with the Atlanta Falcons and baseball primarily with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves. But more importantly, he used his status to support charities through his foundation (The Brian Jordan Foundation).
His career baseball box score turns heads, a legacy that is marquee noteworthy: .282 batting average, 184 home runs and 821 runs batted in during his 15 years in Major League Baseball. Early in his career he played football when baseball season ended. With the Falcons for three seasons, he had five interceptions and four sacks, making headlines in his preferred sport which he wisely forsook when he considered that baseball offered greater longevity.
When he cast his lot with baseball, he used his football speed to chase down fly balls in the outfield and for extra bases on the base paths. He also played some at first base, confirming his versatility.
From his childhood days in Baltimore to college at the University of Richmond, he excelled in sports. But he was always reminded by his parents to give priority to his schoolwork and to extend a helping hand to those less fortunate.
Helping others has become his mission in his post-athletic career. During his high school years, he watched his mother teach special needs kids with great passion. “She gave those kids hope, that despite their disabilities, they could achieve in life,” he says with reverence. The Brian Jordan Foundation honors his mother and has awarded over a million dollars in scholarships to kids in financial need.
Jordan is also a champion of literacy causes. One of his most enduring personal highlights is when he teaches a kid to read – a thrill equal to hitting a walk-off home run to win a critical game.
Because of his integrity and passion, he has succeeded in obtaining support of his charitable efforts from almost 50 firms including Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Atlanta Braves, Aflac, Chick-fil-A, State Farm, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Edward Jones Investments.
A man of versatile talents on the playing fields, Jordan takes the same approach with charitable causes. He plays in charity golf outings for two principal reasons – he enjoys playing golf and he is happy to support the charitable efforts of other organizations, doing good in their neighborhoods.
He has his own charity golf outing at Chateau Elan each year. He is a member of the board of directors of the Morehouse School of Medicine, he funded a wellness center for Grady Hospital employees, and he supports the YMCA, the Boy Scouts, and the American Diabetes Association. He is a member of four halls of fame – Virginia, Georgia, Missouri and the University of Richmond. If there were a hall of fame for giving back and extending a helping hand to those in need, Jordan would be admitted there too.
He worked for 16 seasons as a television analyst covering the Braves and has written some children’s books, including I Told You I Can Play, which is semi-autobiographical, Overcoming the Fear of Baseball, which is about his childhood experience of being hit in the face by a baseball and Time-Out for Bullies, which helps children understand and resolve bullying issues.
Jordan can be evangelical when it comes to the empowerment of youth. “What greater investment could we make today than into kids in our communities,” he says.
This is a man who not only wanted to slam a baseball over the fences or make a game saving tackle to help his team make it to a championship game. Brian Jordan wanted more, something lasting and fulfilling that only comes from giving of oneself to charity and community.