‘Did You Get Your Money?’: When Michael Jordan Helped a Chicago Bulls Fan Earn His Million Dollar Payout

When a Chicago Bulls Fan hit the rare One-Million-Dollar shot, the Insurance Company behind the contest didn’t want to pay up. This is where Jordan and the Bulls Came into the Picture.

Published on Apr 10, 2024  |  08:29 PM IST |  79K
Michael Jordan Once Helped a Bulls Fan Become a Millionaire
Michael Jordan ( Getty Images )

In-game sports contests have long been a tradition in the Western sports landscape, particularly the NBA. Such short-duration events and promotions serve as a distraction for spectators to engage with. This keeps the viewers and fans entertained and allows teams to develop key strategies to earn them crucial victories. 

Contestants who participate in sports contests usually stand a chance to win signed jerseys, goodies, game tickets, appliances, and, on certain occasions, handsome prize money. 

In 1993, a Bulls fan got a chance to compete in a similar contest. While he had the skills to be eligible, he had to attempt something no other contestant had been able to pull off: a three-quarter-court shot. What happened next is remembered as one of the NBA's most memorable throwback events. 

Unfortunately, what followed was a controversial decision that forced Bulls legend Michael Jordan to come to the fan's assistance.    

Don Calhoun Sinks the One Million Dollar Shot

In April 1993, the Chicago Bulls went up against the Miami Heat near the end of the regular season and dominated the South Beach squad, leading by 14 points into the third quarter. 

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Seeing their team win, Chicago fans were ecstatic and filled with excitement. However, despite the crowd’s enjoyment, the real fun was moments away. 

Throughout the season, the Bulls hosted a popular contest for the fans. Among the 18,000-plus in attendance during any given home game, one fan would be chosen randomly to shoot a three-quarters court shot for a whopping $1 Million. Even today, a million-dollar cash prize for a promotion is simply unheard of.

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Leading up to the contest, 19 fans took a shot for the ultimate cash prize but walked away with regret. That’s when one Don Calhoun stepped on the court to try his luck. Having been selected for wearing scuff-free shoes, Calhoun took three strides and, to the utter shock of everyone, made the shot. 

Within minutes, the 23-year-old Bulls fan went from being a nobody to now high-fiving and celebrating his shot with Michael Jordan and the rest of the Bulls team. The entire scenario was nothing short of a dream come true. He was now a millionaire, or so he thought. 

The Insurance Company Didn’t Want to Pay Up

The Insurance company required to pay the million dollars, American Hole 'N One Inc., disqualified Calhoun's shot and the prize money, claiming that the young man had broken one of the contest's eligibility rules. 

The rule stated that the participant could not have played organized basketball within five years of the promoted contest. Just three prior, Calhoun had played community basketball for the Triton Community College in River Grove, Illinois. 

The contest organizers knew Colhoun had some college ball experience as he had marked the information on the forms, but the organizers didn’t care much. However, the Insurance company did. 

Jordan Convinced Bulls Ownership to Make the Payment

When news began to spread around Chicago that the overnight legend was being screwed out of his money,  fans were livid and demanded the Bulls ownership take the right action. 

Surprisingly, the Bulls organization agreed and promised to pay the million dollars in 20 installments over the next 20 years. However, how and why the six-time champion franchise developed a change of heart remains undisclosed. 


Fast forward one year, Calhoun heard that MJ would be in the area to attend one of his son’s basketball games. Seeing this as the perfect opportunity to meet Jordan and get his million-dollar game ball signed, he pulled up to the game. Jordan arrived with tight security surrounding him. Luckily for Calhoun, he wasn’t an ordinary fan. 

Jordan recognized him in the crowd and instructed security to bring him over to the postgame. With the game ball in hand, hoping to get it signed, Calhoun walked up to Jordan. That’s when the six-time finals MVP asked him, “Did you get your money?”.

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Surprised, Calhoun said yes. Jordan then continued saying, “We made them give it to you. “We were upset that they were trying to not pay you.” Jordan then went ahead and signed Calhoun’s million-dollar game ball. 

Though Jordan and the Bulls declined an Interview about the incident later on, it showed their kind-heartedness toward doing the right thing. Displaying sheer generosity in this case, Jordan helped deliver justice and maintain the respectable standards of the Chicago Bulls

ALSO READ: Michael Jordan Spends USD 16.5 Million on a Florida Mansion; Exploring Details About His Airness' New Property

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