Michael Jordan Gambling Habits

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Michael Jordan is a name that is synonymous with basketball and rightly so. Having won six NBA championships and six MVP Finals awards all while at Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan has had a legendary basketball career with the NBA. He is not only considered the GOAT in the league but a Hall of Fame personality.

While many remember his legendary basketball career, less know that during the peak of his career, with no major injuries to date and only nine years in, he quit basketball for another dream. As a kid Jordan loved baseball, played it in his teenage years as No.45 and grew up alongside his father who had a deep passion for it and almost chose to pursue baseball professionally prior to his decision to join the NBA.

When he was 12, he was even named North Carolina’s “Mr. Baseball” by the Dixie Youth Association. In 1994 Jordan momentarily retired from Chicago Bulls to join baseball white sox minor league the Birmingham Barons. Michael Jordan played a total of 127 games for the Birmingham Barons, but it wasn’t a simple transition and Jordan had a lot to learn during his training season

His NBA accolades speak volumes to his revolutionary basketball game and dominance of the league. While he was able to conquer on the court, there’s one thing off the court that Jordan couldn’t quite shake off and that was his gambling habits. Michael Jordan had a stubborn gambling problem even though he personally never admited that it was a problem — often downplaying it by saying that he could stop anytime he wanted. It’s either he never wanted or he couldn’t stop, because his gambing habits started very early before he even got into the NBA and continued well after he established himself as the greatest of all time in the basketball league.

Speaking in a interview with Australian TV, Michael Jordan said, “I think I have a very positive life. Naturally, there have been some things that I have done wrong, and most people have. The gambling thing is something that kind of get out of proportion.”

“I took my punishment in that situation and I am done with it. But most of my life is as normal as it can be. I am an easy guy to get along with, I am a people-type of person and it’s kind of understandable that people seeing me out doing things are like ‘hey he is not doing things that nobody else would probably do.”

Reflecting on what was now becoming a publicly noted gambling addiction, the NBA legend said he didn’t have a gambling problem because he considered his love for the game of chance as a hobby. One that he could end at any moment. This, he said while being interviewed by Ahmad Rashad. 

Early Gambling Life

Michael Jordan’s love for gambling was apparent during his basketball career. Whether  he was betting against his Bulls teammates, 1992 Olympics Team USA or 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, there’s no denying that Michael was a constant gambler.

While it’s unknown when exactly he started gambling, it is on record that his gambling started way back while he was in high school. A famous story is told of Jordan won a bet against his prom date. There’s also a $5 cheque he wrote to his fellow student back in 1982 which was won at a pool table. 

His former college teammates and coaches were his favorite wagering mates but it is recorded that anyone’s money was good for Jordan as long as it was up for grabs in any game of chance. 

Gambling as Professional NBA Player

When he started out, Jordan didn’t have much money to stake because, let’s be honest, where would a student who relied on his mother for periodic upkeep money get huge bucks to gamble with. Fast-forward to his time in the NBA and Jordan isn’t a small time gambler anymore. He could afford to stake against high rollers in the Bulls camp. He bet against Sam Smith on road trips and even placed a rolling bet with staff at the Chicago Stadium. 

He would also bet on Jumbotron cartoon but once a while he could ask event staff to tell him the outcome of the races which made him a rigger. He is also said to have used unfair means to win a bet when he bribed a luggage handler and then proceeded to wager with his teammates on whose luggage would turn up first while on a trip to Portland. 

In 1992 the USA olympic team headed to Monte Carlo — an heaven on earth for a gambler such as Michael Jordan. During the night he is said to have built a rolling late night game with Magic Johnson. Monte Carlo is one of the finest casino hotspots in the world. Only a few online casinos that you can find on Casinojungle.com can beat the casino experience offered by Monte Carlo and Jordan wasn’t to let this chance slip by. 

In another incident, Jordan was seen gambling in Atlantic City during the 1993 finals. Many associate this night with his subliminal performance in the final.

Gambling Related Incidents

During his entire life as a gambler, Jordan was caught up in some controversial incidents on several occasions. At one time, he ended up on the wrong side of the justice system and had to testify to clear his name over a $57,000 cheque he wrote to James “Slim” Boulder. 

Slim Boulder was a rich fella who got much of his riches through gambling but mostly drug dealing, allegedly. Boulder was eventually sentenced to nine years behind bars for money laundering. 

Initially, Jordan argued that the cheque was for a business loan fronted to him by Boulder. However he later changed his stance and admitted that it was for clearance of a gambling debt that had accrued from several games he had lost to Boulder on the golf course. 

This however, wasn’t the basketball GOAT’s biggest gambling debt. It is reported that he also owed another golfer $1.3 million which he personally denied. The claimant later wrote that they had settled for $300,000.

Jordan’s love for the game started way back as a high schooler. Although Jordan’s unending gambling habit was evident, he personally never owned to it as such by always stating that he could stop anytime he wanted as it was just a hobby. However, no evidence ever arose suggesting that he ever stopped wagering. The closest he came to this was when he admitted to taking in his punishment from the situation and being done with it. 

Despite all that, gambling or not, Michael Jordan cemented his name in the Hall of Fame with six NBA championships, a host of personal accolades and becoming the richest sportsman on earth. Fortunately to date, the $2 billion worth Michael Jordan is not remembered for his gambling but revolutionizing the NBA and basketball as a whole.

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