Michael Jordan is known as the Greatest of All Time but nobody is perfect.
Addicted to Gambling
Michael Jordan is one of the most competitive people you would ever meet. He honed his competitive fire with battles with his brother Larry on their backyard basketball court. This would later translate to success in basketball.
However, this would also lead to a compulsive gambling problem. As early as high school, Jordan was already gambling. According to Roland Lazenby's book, Michael Jordan: The Life, Michael won a bet against his prom date. Michael also made small bets with teammates, classmates and coaches during his collegiate stint.
Michael's gambling problem only worsened when he got more money from his player's salary and endorsement deals. Jordan would gamble six to seven figures on golf and cards. He would be frequently spotted with his buddy Charles Barkley.
The 1992 Olympics in Barcelona gave Jordan one of the best venues to gamble as well as fellow sharks who can compete with him financially, like Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Scottie Pippen.
In an interview with Ahmad Rashad, Jordan claimed, "I have a competition problem."
It is widely speculated that Jordan's gambling debts led to the eventual death of his father James Jordan. Many think his murder was a hit from the mafia.
It is also speculated that Jordan retired prematurely after his first three-peat as punishment from the league for his gambling addiction.
Jordan's gambling habits would influence a young Antoine Walker. This eventually led him to financial ruination. Walker should have been "like Mike" on the basketball court, not in the casino.
Cheated on His Wife
The media portrays Michael Jordan as a role model. However, he was far from being a good example. Michael fell into the same trap as many professional athletes. He became a womanizer.
Private investigator Ernie Rizzo was hired by Juanita Vanoy-Jordan in order to uncover Michael's nefarious activities. He was able to find Michael in compromising situations with several women during his investigations.
Karla Knafel, a hairdresser, was one of Michael's alleged mistresses. She and Michael had a two-year affair. She was an aspiring actor, singer, and model. However, her career never took off.
Karla later sued Jordan for $5 million in unpaid hush money. She claimed that Jordan promised her the amount to keep quiet about their relationship. Knafel lost the lawsuit a few years later.
Jordan was also linked to Jennifer Williams, the ex-wife of former NBA player Eric Williams. Jennifer is the founder of Classy Girl Wardrobe and star of the hit television show Basketball Wives.
Juanita was fed up with Michael's gambling and cheating, and this led to a very expensive $168 million divorce settlement.
Silent on Unfair Labor Practices by Nike
Michael Jordan is depicted in commercials as someone who loves kids and someone who is idolized by kids. Unfortunately, Michael does not seem to care for kids in less developed nations.
Ever since the 1970s, Nike has been accused of using sweatshops in order to manufacture their sporting goods. Nike has been accused of using child labor and not paying their workers a living wage. Furthermore, the workers work double shifts under unsafe working conditions.
When called out on Nike's behavior, Jordan either promises to look into the matter or makes the excuse that it is not his job to look into Nike's labor practices. Jordan responded to the controversy by saying, “I think that’s Nike’s decision to do what they can to make sure everything is correctly done. I don’t know the complete situation. Why should I? I’m trying to do my job.”
In 2019, Jordan earned $130 million, yet Jordan cannot even give a little back to make sure that the people who makes his shoes earn enough to make a living.
Mean to Teammates
Michael Jordan may be depicted as a leader by the media, but he is more of an authoritarian. Michael is known for berating and bullying teammates and outright mistreating them.
One known is case when Jordan's best friend Charles Oakley was traded for Knicks center Bill Cartwright. Michael was upset, and in retaliation, he mistreated Bill and told teammates to limit passing to him. Cartwright confronted Jordan and told him, "If I ever hear again that you're telling guys not to pass me the ball, you will never play basketball again."
Michael is also known for punching Steve Kerr. When Jordan came back from retirement, he was trying to get back into his old form. This involved a lot of practice games to get him back in gear. Phil Jackson placed Kerr as Jordan's opposing guard during practice. Steve was rough on Jordan and this frustrated Michael. He then took out his aggression on Steve and gave him a black eye. This was uncalled for as this was just a scrimmage with a teammate.
Sabotaging Isiah Thomas
One of the conspiracy theories in the NBA was Michael Jordan sabotaging Isiah Thomas' Dream Team aspirations. Isiah was fresh off a two-peat with the Pistons in 1989 and 1990. He was one of the best point guards in the league. Jordan and Pippen were very vocal that they would boycott the team if Thomas was in there.
Proof of Jordan railroading Thomas can be found in a quote by Magic Johnson. "Isaiah killed his own chances when it came to the Olympics. Nobody on that team wanted to play with him, Michael Jordan didn’t want to play with him, Scottie Pippen wanted no part of him, Bird wasn’t pushing for him, Karl Malone didn’t want him. Who was saying we need this guy? Nobody."
© 2021 Jan Michael Ong
Troy Taylor from Anywhere on March 22, 2021:
I feel like people always overlook a lot of things in MJs career both inside and outside of the game.