Michael Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player of all time. Although there will always be a debate over who’s the true GOAT, there’s no arguing with Jordan’s accomplishments in the sport. Over the course of fifteen seasons in the NBA, Michael Jordan picked up five MVP awards and six championships, marking a historical period in the sport for the Chicago Bulls.
While he’s widely known for his exploits on the basketball court, Jordan had a lot of other hobbies in his free time. At one stage, he even quit basketball to pursue a career in baseball, although this was extremely short-lived. Aside from this, Jordan also loved to gamble. He loved to gamble so much that it was rumoured he racked up massive debts at one time, despite making close to $100 million while at the bulls.
What Sort of Gambling Did Jordan Prefer?
Gambling is a fun pastime for a lot of people, and Michael Jordan was no different. The basketball superstar was a big fan of playing various games in casinos, including Craps, Roulette and Poker. Back then, there were few online options available, so sites like bonusfinder.com weren’t around. There are several casinos and poker rooms in the Chicago area, and he frequently travelled to Atlantic City in New Jersey. It’s also speculated that he enjoyed hosting his own gambling events at private parties.
Aside from casino gaming, Jordan also really loved sports betting. His preferred sport to bet on was golf, particularly in games he played against friends. Supposedly, he once bet and lost more than $1 million over a ten-day golfing holiday with his friend Richard Esquinas. Jordan also frequently played against Charles Barkley, his on-court rival. Their battles on the golfing greens were rumoured to be just as legendary and often involved massive cash wagers.
His habit of sports betting also led to him setting up unusual prop bets with friends and teammates. Jordan would frequently place big wagers on random events, with one particular time involving the luggage carousel at an airport. Coming back from the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Jordan bet that his luggage would be first off the plane. Several of his teammates took the bet, paying Jordan $900 when his luggage appeared on the carousel first. Jordan later admitted that he had bribed the airport staff earlier to ensure his bet was successful.
Did Michael Jordan Have a Gambling Problem?
Jordan was able to be so successful on the court because of his undying competitive spirit and the fact that winning was the greatest feeling in the world. It’s this trait in his character that likely led to his crazy gambling habits, and while it’s unclear if Jordan had a real problem with gambling, it’s certainly clear that he was doing it a lot.
Problem gambling is characterised by a habit of gambling that leads to issues in your life, including debts that you can’t repay. While Jordan did like to gamble heavily, he also earned big money, making more than $100 million just from basketball. That’s not even counting the work he’s done since then, including starring in films, establishing his Jordan’s brand and working as an ambassador for sportsbooks.
While he did temporarily retire from basketball in order to play baseball, which many regarded as a strange decision, he never seemed hard up for cash. Unlike a lot of other rich athletes who like to gamble, Jordan never filed for bankruptcy and there have been no reports that suggested he had a problem. His former golfing buddy, Richard Esquinas, reported that they used to gamble excessively and admitted they had a problem with gambling, but Jordan has denied all of those reports. It’s true that Jordan is less likely to admit he has a problem than most, but most of the evidence suggests he’s managed to stay in control of his gambling habits.
Jordan has managed to stay out of trouble for the most part, and while there were conspiracies about gambling debt he owed to the mob, these have been unfounded by numerous investigations. The NBA itself investigated the claims of gambling debt, not wanting to risk the integrity of the sport. Jordan’s temporary retirement fuelled the rumours, but in the end, his gambling seems to have been mostly recreational.