There is no doubt that Michael Jordan is the best basketball player of all time. People may argue otherwise and throw a couple of names but none matches the greatness that is Michael Jordan. The name even transcends the basketball arena as he’s known in all the corners of the earth. However, there one aspect of his life that still holds controversy until today and that is his gambling tendencies. Like it or not, the man deserves all the free and leisure time he can get with all the dollars he rightfully earned. His gambling activities have sprung a ton of interesting and funny stories. Let’s look at some of these:
The Luggage Wager
Yes, we are starting at the absurdity of the bet made on and for luggage. Back when the American dream team was waiting on their bags at the Portland airport after their Olympic win, the team, headed by Jordan decided to bet on which bag would show up first. Jordan undoubtedly betted on his bag to show up first but that wasn’t the craziest part. Maybe the luck gods aren’t done yet with him winning the Olympic title, they granted his bet with his bag the first luggage to show up—an easy $900 from his mates. It was revealed that he bribed the airport stuff for this but we’ll let it pass.
Rock Paper Scissors Wager
Another funny yet petty reason for a bet is the infamous wager on Rock Paper Scissors. It turns out, you don’t need casino equipment or even a sporting event to keep your bets going as Jordan and his teammates did it on this particular match. But if you think that’s crazy enough, you would find it delightful or disturbing—depending on which spectrum you’re at that the bet goes as high as $100,000 on the said match. That is way more expensive than most college tuition.
Poker at the Olympics
Another Olympic madness with our favorite Olympic Dream Team happened when Jordan and his teammates finished with the title after outscoring the other team by over 40 points. The feat was so easy for them that Jordan, together with Charles Barkley, and Magic Johnson stayed up until 6 am while on the Olympic schedule playing poker. He reportedly slept for only an hour before winning the Olympic gold. His body is just out of this world.
While basketball proves to be just a walk in the park for Jordan—especially at the height of his career. Gambling proved otherwise as seen by his betting problem getting as real as it gets especially during a golfing season with San Diego Sports Arena manager Richard Esquinas. The manager claims that Jordan owes him as much as $1.3 million after ten days of golfing together. However, Jordan refused to pay the whole agreed betting price so Esquinas settled for $300,000.
This wasn’t the first time Jordan lost a huge amount on betting on gold. Charles Barkley claims the basketball legend wagered $300,000 on a single putt in a game with other elites and lost.
Pre-Game Casino Spree
There are many more crazy gambling stories with the legend but here’s what makes the end of our list—the casino gambling spree a day before the playoff. Yes, the casino games in-between Olympic matches were crazy but it is worth noting that other countries’ basketball teams wouldn’t fare well against the USA’s Dream Team even when they exhausted. But try this with other US teams and you are definitely off the charts.
See, the US takes their NBA titles seriously and their best teams would perhaps beat any other countries’ teams in the 90s. This does not deter the great Jordan from gambling a night before the playoffs. And we’re not simply talking about playing poker with some friends or betting on luggage or on a petty game. We’re talking about full-on Atlantic City casino spree! But what makes it crazier is this was the time Jordan actually won a three-consecutive championship in 1993. This is Michael Jordan after all. He is just undefeatable. Even the luck gods agree with him and he is and always will be a legend.
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