The recently aired Netflix film “The Last Dance” has managed to portray the journey that led Michael Jordan to become the greatest basketball player in history. Here are some more insights into his off-court life.
First Athlete to Become a Billionaire
After ending his glorious career with six NBA championship rings, Michael Jordan signed a shoe endorsement deal with Nike. This deal eventually made him the wealthiest retired athlete in the world.
Throughout his career playing for the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards, Jordan earned less than 100 million USD in salary. However, after retiring from the court in 2003, the legend, born in 1963, amassed a fortune of up to 2.1 billion USD, becoming the first athlete to join the billionaire club. He owns several real estates across the United States, a golf course, and numerous restaurants.
Owed 1.2 Million USD for Golfing
Not only a savvy businessman, Michael Jordan is also known as a notorious gambler. The former Chicago Bulls guard once had a debt of up to 1.2 million USD after a few rounds of golf.
The book “Michael & Me: Our Gambling Addiction.. My Cry For Help” reveals a series of issues about Jordan’s gambling addiction. The book mentions Jordan’s debt of 1.2 million USD after 10 consecutive days of golfing and betting up to 100,000 USD per hole. This debt was later reduced to 300,000 USD.
Lost 5 Million USD in One Night in Las Vegas
If the figure of 300,000 USD is not a big deal for a wealthy individual like Michael Jordan, a loss of up to 5 million USD in betting will certainly shock many. Jordan frequently spent time at casinos while still playing professionally and occasionally gambled overnight before Chicago Bulls matches.
The 57-year-old legend is also willing to bet on just about anything. Jordan even challenged teammates to guess whose luggage would be unloaded first at the airport.
The figures mentioned above not only show the wealth of the six-time NBA Finals MVP but also prove his intense dislike for losing.
Almost Alienated Tiger Woods…
When Tiger Woods rose to fame in the 1990s, he quickly became a superstar in the sports world and caught the attention of Michael Jordan. In his autobiography titled “Tiger Woods”, the legendary American golfer revealed he was advised to stay away from the Chicago Bulls star. John Merchant, a lawyer who helped the Woods family when the 44-year-old golfer was studying at Stanford University, issued the warning.
“Michael might be the best basketball player,” Yahoo Sports quoted Merchant. “But apart from that, he’s not good at anything else. Not at all! And Michael has been famous for a long time, so he’ll take advantage of you”.
… But Became Good Friends and Taught Tiger Woods How to Woo Women
Despite the warning, Woods saw Jordan as his idol during his school days. Woods disregarded the warning, maintained a close relationship with the Chicago Bulls legend. Before the love scandal exploded in 2009, the 82-time PGA Tour champion was described by close friends as socially awkward, especially when interacting with women.
According to ESPN, Woods went with Jordan and baseball superstar Derek Jeter to a nightclub in 1999 and asked how to talk to women. With bewildered looks, Jordan and Jeter looked at each other before advising, “Just tell them you’re Tiger Woods”.
First Player to Own an NBA Team
Three years after retiring, Michael Jordan bought a part of the Charlotte Bobcats before becoming the second-largest shareholder after Robert L. Jackson. In 2010, the six-time NBA champion expressed his desire to control the team.
In February of that year, the wish of the legend born in 1963 came true. Jordan became the first player to be the largest shareholder in a club in the NBA. Since the Charlotte Bobcats changed their name to the Hornets in 2014, Jordan has retained control of the club but sold a small number of shares to the duo Gabe Plotkin and Daniel Sundheim.
Argued with Former President Bill Clinton on the Golf Course
Just like on the basketball court, Michael Jordan is competitive and ready to argue with anyone, even if it’s a former US President. During a meeting with Bill Clinton, Jordan asked, “Are you going to play from the girls’ tee?”. Jordan then forced the former President to step up to the professional teeing area.
After a big laugh, Clinton followed the former Chicago Bulls player, and they played all 18 holes of golf. During this time, Jordan frequently lit cigars. The 57-year-old basketball legend admits he smokes about six cigars every day.
Refused to Take a Photo with a Famous Fan
When rapper Chamillionaire met Michael Jordan at a party, the 40-year-old hip-hop star did not hesitate to ask for a photo with his once-hero, but was bluntly refused. The 2007 Grammy-winning rapper, who had spent 7,000 USD on a Jordan jersey, was told, “If you pay 15,000 USD for one of my jerseys right now, I’ll take a picture with you”.