In the realm of sports, Michael Jordan’s name reigns supreme as one of the most prominent figures. The legendary Chicago Bulls player has crafted a lasting legacy that will be revered for generations to come. Before the emergence of MJ imitators, there was no one quite like him. Players like Kobe Bryant achieved greatness by emulating Jordan’s game, proving the profound impact he had on the sport and those who followed in his footsteps.
However, behind that perfect demeanor and ferociousness on-court, MJ had his own kryptonite off the court. The 6ft 6″ shooting guard developed a penchant for gambling. Michael Jordan could virtually bet money on any and everything.
But his two favorite things to gamble on were poker and golf. In fact, he amassed quite a gambling debt at the peak of his career. Unfortunately, the ‘harmless’ gambling landed the superstar in deep trouble with authorities.
Michael Jordan lied about paying a cocaine dealer $57,000
Right after the Dream Team returned from Barcelona, Michael Jordan landed in trouble with the authorities. MJ, who was known for his obsession with gambling, had written a check worth $57,000 to a shady cocaine dealer.
When authorities asked Michael why he had written a check to a criminal by the name of Slim Bouler, Michael lied that it was a personal loan. Later, under an oath, he confessed that the check was written to pay off gambling debt.
In his book Michael Jordan: The Life, Roland Lazenby wrote:
“At home, awaiting Jordan, was his subpoena to testify in Slim Bouler’s criminal trial in North Carolina. He would be asked to explain why Bouler, a convicted cocaine dealer, was in possession of a $57,000 check from His Airness. Jordan had first told authorities the money was a business loan, but under oath on the stand, he confessed it was for poker and gambling losses from one of the weekends at his Hilton Head home. He was not asked about the other three checks found in the briefcase of Eddie Dow, the bail bondsman who had been murdered during a robbery in February.”
Jordan even made Juanita Vanoy write checks to settle debt
Despite such a problematic run-in with the law, Michael’s gambling problem only escalated. He was regularly playing golf and betting on it with Esquinas.
As per Esquinas, Michael owed him over a million dollars in lost bets. After a lot of pestering, the Bulls legend made his ex-wife Juanita write $50,000 checks to pay Esquinas. Not a good look on a legendary athlete.