How Bad Was Michael Jordan's Gambling Addiction?

How Bad Was Michael Jordan's Gambling Addiction?

How Bad Was Michael Jordan's Gambling Addiction?

Michael Jordan, the former Chicago Bulls guard, is undeniably one of the most iconic figures in the history of basketball. Born in Brooklyn, NY, Jordan's legacy is remembered by his six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, and being a 14x NBA All-Star. Jordan has an extensive array of accomplishments on his resume. But despite his unparalleled achievements on the basketball court, Jordan's gambling windfall has led to suspicions and intrigues.


The Michael Jordan Gambling Controversies


Jordan was also well known for gambling long before the end of his playing days. Allegedly he gambled as far back as high school and college, even gambling with other students and teammates.


As he settled in with the NBA, he continued to gamble, making bigger wagers with teammates, the team, and also getting involved in conducting practices such as picking the winners of the Jumbotron races before games.


High-Profile Incidents

The most well-known of those incidents was his late-night gaming in Atlantic City the night before Game 2 of the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, which was observed with skepticism by fans and media.
He was also implicated in a scandal over a $57,000 check to a gambler and reputed drug dealer named James “Slim” Boulder and was hit by claims that he owed tens of thousands of dollars after losing golf contests.


Conspiracy Theories


Rumors swirled about why he left the game initially in 1993, with many suggesting the NBA may have played a role, concerned over his gambling connections and perhaps encouraging him to take some time off to keep a suspension out of the public vortex.


But Jordan's gambling habits didn't end in the traditional sense. He would place wagers where he bet on everything from card games to golf matches to the Jumbotron cartoon races.
That competitive nature included betting with other athletes (like his well-known bet with Chris Paul, which he won easily, further underscoring his itch for victory and not his gambling addiction).


Analyzing the Controversy

Jordan's tendency to gamble has been a long-standing issue of contention, and the subject of well-documented bouts and testimonies which detail the severity of his gambling stakes.
The NBA's later investigation of his gambling and the conspiracy theories about his 1993 retirement have since muddled that simple story and spurred speculation about the NBA's role and Jordan's reasoning.


In the End

The shadow of Michael Jordan's gambling experiences has certainly cast a long one, creating a uniquely compelling wrinkle within his already larger-than-life character. The debate over his gambling has been polarizing and, Michelle Dauber, a law professor at Stanford Law School argues that the gambling habits seem perjurious.
In short, the fact that Michael Jordan was perhaps the greatest basketball player ever is as interesting as the gambling problems that are synonymous with him, which is why sports fans and historians alike continue to have these discussions.


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