10 Weirdest Michael Jordan Facts That Sound Fake But Are True

Believe them or not, here are 10 Michael Jordan facts that'll have you second-guessing. Read on!

Oindrila Chowdhury
Written by Oindrila Chowdhury , Writer
Updated on Apr 15, 2024 | 12:41 AM IST | 103K
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Check out these 10 weird Michael Jordan trivia!

1. Michael Jordan- The Known Gambler

Michael Jordan's gambling habits are well-documented and have been a source of discussion for years. Throughout his career, Jordan was known for frequently placing bets, from high-stakes golf games with celebrities to card games with teammates While some suspected a gambling addiction, Jordan always downplayed it, calling it a "hobby" or a "competitive problem." Some instances raised eyebrows. In 1993, a $57,000 check written to a known gambler caused a stir, though Jordan claimed it was a debt settlement. The Netflix documentary "The Last Dance" touched on Jordan's gambling.

 

2. Michael Jordan's Pre-Game Meals Included Gobbling Steak

Michael Jordan famously ate steak before NBA games. This went against the grain at the time when athletes typically loaded up on carbs for energy.  In the 80s and 90s, the conventional wisdom was to eat tons of pasta and rice. However, Jordan's trainer, Tim Grover, noticed that carbs left him feeling sluggish. Steak provided a different kind of fuel. The protein and fat took longer to digest which gave Jordan more energy throughout the game.

 

3. Michael Jordan’s Jersey Switch

Michael Jordan wore his old high school number, 45, for a brief period during his career. It happened during his comeback season with the Chicago Bulls in 1995, after his first retirement from basketball. He chose the number 45 because he felt it was a "new beginning" and the number he wore before switching to his iconic 23 in high school. However, he only wore 45 for 22 games. Turns out, Jordan himself felt he wasn't playing at his usual level, and he switched back to his famous 23. Thereafter, went on to win his second three-peat with the Chicago Bulls during the seasons 1996-1998.

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4. Michael Jordan Had a Rival at Home

Michael Jordan has an older sibling, Larry Jordan. Larry played college basketball and even had a brief stint in the World Basketball League, but injuries did cut his career short. Michael himself has credited Larry as a big influence and even said Larry might have surpassed him if not for the injuries. Although Larry didn't reach the NBA like Michael, he did find business success and later even worked for Michael with the Charlotte Hornets organization.

 

5. Michael Jordan’s Connection to North Korea

A Wilson basketball with Michael Jordan's signature was given to North Korea's former leader, Kim Jong-il, by the US Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, in October 2000. Kim Jong-il, who loved basketball, received the ball as a diplomatic gift. The basketball is now displayed at North Korea's International Friendship Exhibition House and represents the diplomatic relationship between North Korea and the United States.

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6. Michael Jordan Had to Bear the Financial Brunt of His First Divorce

Michael Jordan only had one divorce, and it was a doozy. In 2006, he settled with his then-ex-wife Juanita Vanoy for a whopping $168 million, which was one of the biggest celebrity divorce settlements at the time. While Jordan kept their Chicago mansion, Vanoy received a significant portion of their estate.


7. Michael Jordan Signed a Prenuptial Agreement With his Second Wife After Burning a Hole in His Pocket During his First Divorce

Michael Jordan famously had a prenuptial agreement in place before marrying his second wife, Yvette Prieto, in 2013. This was likely due to the hefty settlement he paid his first wife Juanita Vanoy in their 2006 divorce. Prieto would receive $1 million for each year of marriage, up to 10 years.

If they stay married longer than 10 years, the payout increases to $5 million per year. As of 2024, they've been married for over 10 years, so theoretically, Prieto would be entitled to $50 million if they divorced. However, the prenup likely also addresses other things like property division and spousal support. 

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8. Michael Jordan’s Switch From Basketball to Baseball at the Peak of His NBA Career

Michael Jordan took a brief hiatus from basketball when he played Minor League Baseball for the Chicago White Sox organization. It happened between 1993 and 1995. Apparently, Jordan retired from basketball after his father's death, citing a loss of desire for the sport. However, his baseball skills were respectable but not quite major-league caliber. Major League Baseball players' strike and Jordan's reservations about being a replacement player led him to return to basketball in 1995. 

 

9. Michael Jordan Felt Resentment Towards White People as a Teenager

Michael Jordan grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina, which was a racially segregated city in the 1960s and where the Ku Klux Klan had a strong presence. In the past, He's spoken about facing racist incidents and even admitting to feeling resentment towards white people as a teenager. 

 

10. Michael Jordan was Cut From the Varsity Team During his Sophomore Year

Michael Jordan was removed from the Varsity Team during his Sophomore Year at Emsley A. Laney High School. At the time, he was considered too short and not yet skilled enough. This rejection is a famous story because it fueled his motivation to work even harder. He ended up playing on the junior varsity team that year and then made the varsity team the following year. Of course, the rest is history!

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