Michael Jordan is an enormous deal. The previous Chicago Bulls guard has fairly the gathering of accolades.

Alongside six NBA championship rings, he has six NBA Finals MVP awards, and has additionally appeared in 14 NBA All-Star video games. 

In the end, Jordan received so many NBA MVP awards (5 in whole) that they renamed the MVP award the ‘Michael Jordan Trophy’ in honor of the everlasting Bulls legend. President Obama even awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016. 

Even whereas engaging in all that, he nonetheless discovered time to revolutionize sneakers along with his Air Jordan take care of Nike.  

He’s additionally identified for his playing exploits, a reason behind a lot controversy. Eager-eyed followers caught him playing in Atlantic Metropolis the night time earlier than Recreation 2 of the Japanese Convention Finals in 1993. 

In October 1993, he ‘retired’ for 2 years to play baseball, and rumors unfold like wildfire, together with that his retirement was, actually, a playing suspension. There are additionally rumors that his father was murdered over a playing debt that very same 12 months. 

As MJ turns 60 on February 17, let’s look by way of Michael Jordan’s relationship with playing.

Michael Jordan
Picture: Twitter/goldmedalmind

Michael Jordan’s Early Years

Playing appears to have all the time been part of Michael Jordan’s life, with proof from biographies (together with Roland Lazenby’s Michael Jordan: The Life) that he was playing as early as highschool.

In faculty, there’s additionally proof that he was wagering. 

For instance, a $5 verify written by MJ in 1982 to a fellow pupil for dropping a pool sport reveals us that betting was a characteristic of his life.

There are tales of him betting throughout apply along with his teammates and training workers – however in small quantities that weren’t prone to break the financial institution.

Skilled Profession

By the point he joined the NBA, he wasn’t betting small quantities. He was identified to play with the excessive rollers within the Bulls camp and regularly performed playing cards with beat writers whereas on street journeys. 

He even had a rolling wager with workers on the Chicago Stadium: He would wager on the Jumbotron cartoon races.

He wasn’t afraid of somewhat bet-rigging both, as he would all the time obtain the result of the Jumbotron races from occasion workers earlier than gameday.

One other story of him utilizing questionable strategies to win a wager occurred when the Bulls have been heading to Portland. After disembarking, Chicago gamers waited for his or her baggage, and MJ wager $100 on his bag popping out first. 

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A number of teammates took the wager, and he laughed as his bag rolled out first. He collected the cash however hadn’t advised his teammates that he’d bribed the luggage handler to assist him out.

Michael Jordan playing was a standard sight within the Chicago Bulls clubhouse, and he was a frequent bettor on his teammate’s excessive rollers desk. His bets have been a pivotal a part of a few of his most iconic moments. 

An instance is his well-known shrug after scoring his sixth three-pointer of the primary quarter within the 1992 NBA Finals Recreation 1. Followers thought that it was a easy flex at his extraordinary capability.

Nope. He was shrugging at Magic Johnson within the crowd as a result of Magic had crushed him at playing cards the night time earlier than.

He was additionally prepared to take his behavior anyplace he may discover a sport to play. In 1992, he was chosen as a part of the “Dream Staff” making ready for the 1992 Summer time Olympics. 

The group went to Monaco, dwelling of the Monte Carlo On line casino, amounting to a paradise for Michael Jordan.

He constructed a rolling late-night card sport with main basketball stars like Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing.

Michael Jordan
Picture: Gapvenezia/Wikimedia Commons

Playing Controversies

MJ was embroiled in controversy quickly after his return from Olympic responsibility.

He was compelled to testify in February 1993 over a $57,000 verify to James “Slim” Boulder, a gambler and alleged drug vendor. The courts sentenced Boulder to 9 years in jail over cash laundering. 

Regardless of attempting to argue that the verify was for a enterprise mortgage, he admitted that it was playing debt accrued from video games on the golf course when below oath.

One other {golfing} companion claimed he owed him $1.3 million however later settled for $300,000.

After these controversies, his greatest scandal would fall when basketball followers noticed him in Atlantic Metropolis throughout the 1993 NBA Finals.

The mix of this, his testimony in February, and the allegation that he owed $1.3 million in golf playing money owed made the scandal a lot higher. 

It affected him on the courtroom as effectively – the Bulls misplaced the sport the next night time, and his 3-for-18 capturing was uncharacteristically chilly in Recreation 3.

The NBA determined to research the matter.

Father’s Homicide

The tragic demise of his father just some weeks later, in July 1993, spurred rumors of the connection between Michael Jordan’s playing losses and his dad’s demise. 

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Within the Orange County Register, Mark Whicker stated, “For now, we simply know that there’s proof of the son’s playing downside, and there’s suspicion of a son’s paying downside, the daddy of that son has been murdered. Coincidence, anybody?” 

It is very important be aware that many individuals debunked this fantasy, and the homicide was a random assault.

His first retirement, in October, added extra gas to the fireplace. When requested whether or not he would ever return, MJ stated he may “if the Bulls would have me, [and] if David Stern [NBA Commissioner] lets me again within the league.”

This selection of phrases was suspicious, to say the least.

Hypothesis started to emerge that Michael Jordan’s playing downside was the true purpose he was suspended, not as a result of lack of his love for the sport, as he had implied.

Regardless of this, many causes exist to take what MJ stated at face worth.

He was emotionally drained after the demise of his father, the idea of the NBA secretly suspending its most precious participant and model is ridiculous, and the concept that the NBA would need Jordan to step away from the sport is extremely questionable.

Retirement wasn’t the one choice for a participant with a playing downside resulting in a suspension.

Two causes stand above the remaining when attempting to debunk the “secret suspension” fantasy.

Firstly, David Stern flatly denied that the NBA had something to do with MJ’s choice. 

“So far as the NBA is worried,” Stern insisted, “Michael Jordan did nothing incorrect, and I resent any implications on the contrary.” The league closed its investigation into Jordan two days after he introduced he was retiring.

Secondly, the NBA Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve his candidacy as principal proprietor of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010.

Earlier than approval, new house owners are topic to in-depth vetting, together with their monetary, private, and enterprise dealings. 

Any worries about his playing would have seen his potential possession quashed by fellow NBA house owners.

As an alternative, he was accredited unanimously.

Playing And Skilled Sports activities

For some context on how his playing was perceived on the time, it’s additionally worthwhile eager about the standing of playing when Jordan’s tales broke.

Most individuals seen playing as a nefarious exercise linked to the underworld. 

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The Rose Scandal, the place Cincinnati Reds supervisor Pete Rose had wager on hundreds of MLB video games whereas teaching, rocked Main League Baseball. The MLB banned him for all times in 1989.

Comparable scandals rocked the NFL and School Basketball throughout the Nineteen Eighties.

The key leagues subsequently lobbied lawmakers to move the Skilled and Novice Sports activities Safety Act (PASPA), which made sports activities betting unlawful in 46 states.

Michael Jordan playing golf
Picture: shgmom56/Wikimedia Commons

Sports activities betting remained a sensitive topic for all these concerned within the main leagues till the Supreme Court docket dominated that PASPA was unconstitutional in Might 2018. 

In 2007, 14 years after Jordan’s first retirement, the Donaghy scandal confirmed that factors shaving and manipulation from the affect of betting have been a extreme concern.

The NBA beefed up its protections towards suspicious betting and factors patterns, and on the identical time, it started to embrace sports activities betting.

Within the early 2010s, new NBA Commissioner, Adam Silver, wrote an op-ed for the New York Instances during which he argued an finish to the federal ban on sports activities betting so long as operators met safeguards. 

In 2018, the US Supreme Court docket overruled PASPA, and by 2022, 36 states had legalized sports activities betting in a roundabout way.

Jordan’s exploits now wouldn’t solely be wholly authorized however wouldn’t increase any eyebrows. For many People, sports activities betting is part of the expertise of being a sports activities fan.


That is why it’s fascinating that Michael Jordan is now an NBA proprietor. Since he’s been an proprietor, the ties between sports activities betting and the NBA have grown.

The league has signed multi-year partnerships with a number of sportsbooks, groups now have retail services inside arenas, and the stigma of betting has lifted.

In 2020, Jordan grew to become an investor in DraftKings. 

In the end, Michael Jordan’s playing has much less to do with an habit to betting and extra with an habit to successful. 

An important instance of that is his wager with Chris Paul at considered one of his summer season camps for teenagers. When Jordan was visiting, “CP3” wager with him that if he missed three photographs, he must pay for brand spanking new Air Jordans for all of the camp attendees.

He didn’t miss a single shot. Jordan isn’t bothered in regards to the scenario – he simply likes to win. 

Lead picture: mccarmona23/Flickr

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