There are a great number of kids who dream about becoming a professional athlete when they grow up. For a very small number of those kids, their dream will indeed go on to become a reality. In North America, kids are very fortunate because of the fact that they can virtually participate in every sport imaginable. However, despite all the different options, most kids gravitate towards either wanting to play football, baseball, hockey, or basketball. As it turns out, those four sports make up the four biggest professional sports leagues in the world, and of these four, basketball is probably the easiest sport to get into, seeing as all you need to hone your skills is access to a ball and hoop. But just because it is easy to play, does not mean that the sport is easy to play at the professional level.
The National Basketball Association has been around for 70 years now. Over all that time, the league has showcased and produced the greatest basketball players in the world, and anyone coming into the league who is truly talented has two goals in mind—winning as many championships as possible and becoming the best player in history. There is only one player who can be considered the greatest of all time though. And in terms of basketball and the NBA, that player is no other than Michael Jordan, who has played in a total of 15 seasons. Over the course of his career, Jordan scored 32,292 points, won 5 MVP awards, 6 NBA finals MVP, and 6 championships, all of which came with the Chicago Bulls. However, despite being such an amazing player, Jordan has had things happen to him both professionally and personally that he would like all sports fans to forger. This list will identify 15 of those things.
15. His Playoff Hangover
In 1997, Michael Jordan went on to eventually win his fifth NBA Championship, and it was the Utah Jazz who had the honor of losing to him in that year’s final. However, that series was memorable for something else that Jordan allegedly did. The series ended up being tied 2-2 going into game six, and Jordan was actually questionable for that game because the Bulls claimed that their star player was suffering from flu-like symptoms. But he went out and played anyway. Jordan finished the game, and visibly looked as if he was sick on the court. Apparently, he looked that way because he was suffering from a very bad hangover that occurred after a night of heavy drinking before the game. This claim has for the most part been considered to be a rumor. But rumor or not, the idea that he might have been that irresponsible and unprofessional before a big game was an embarrassment for both him and the league.
14. Getting Crossed Over By Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson may not have been in the same category of greatness as Michael Jordan, but he was a great player in his own right, as evidenced by his induction into the Hall of Fame last year. Iverson began his career in 1996, near the end of Jordan’s dominance. But just because Iverson was at that point still young and inexperienced, does not mean that the games he played against Jordan were not entertaining. In 1997, Iverson’s Philadelphia 76ers played Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. In that game, Iverson embarrassed the world’s best basketball player by scoring a basket after performing a cross over on him. A cross over is a move which basically sees the offensive player dribble towards a defender, but then the offensive player changes direction in order to get around the defender to charge the basket. Successfully performing such a move on a great veteran player like Jordan is considered to be fairly embarrassing to that veteran. Jordan did in fact feel humiliated by that move, as the memory has stuck with him for many years.
13. His Mustache
It is not a secret that professional athletes, both past and present, get endorsement deals from companies, seeing as they are popular figures who can help boost the effectiveness of virtually any product’s marketing campaign. As part of their endorsement deal, athletes sometimes have to appear in commercials with the product. In 2010, Michael Jordan appeared in a Hanes’ commercial which was supposed to make people want to buy the company’s brand of underwear. The commercial itself was not outwardly offensive by any stretch of the imagination, but Jordan got a lot of criticism for doing it because of the facial hair he sported in the ad. At that point in time, Jordan decided to grow a mustache, which should not have been that big of a deal seeing as many men have one. But in Jordan’s case, he grew what is known as the “Hitler” mustache, which obviously offended people. And to say that he did not know what that facial hair represented, would be a lie because who does not know that that mustache was made iconic by the leader of the Nazis? Doesn’t anyone know? Of course, everyone does!
12. Being A Bad Team Owner
Michael Jordan may in fact be the best player to ever play the game of basketball, but just because he was a superb player, does not mean that he knows how to properly run a team and how to evaluate talent. After retiring from the game, Jordan went on to become a minority owner of the Washington Wizards franchise, as well as the President of Basketball Operations. While in those roles, the Wizards actually became a worse team, especially after he traded Richard Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse, as Hamilton went on to win a championship with his new team while Stackhouse was a non factor. After being removed from the Washington front office, Jordan became a minority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, and in 2010, he became the franchise’s principal owner. In the first couple of years of his ownership, the team was absolutely abysmal, especially in the 2012 shortened season when they finished the year with a 7-59 record, the worst in NBA history. To his credit though, the team has improved ever since they were renamed the Hornets, but they are still considered to be a bottom-dwelling team.
11. His Failed Marriage
Like everyone, professional athletes fall in love with other human beings, and often times get married to those individuals. Michael Jordan is currently a very happily married man. Jordan has been married to former Cuban-American model, Yvette Prieto, since 2013, but this is in fact his second marriage, as he was previously married to Juanita Vanoy for 17 years (1989-2006). His former wife had actually filed for divorce in 2002, but Jordan desperately wanted to keep their marriage together, which is why they were able to temporarily reconcile. However, Juanita just could not deal with her ex-husband’s infidelity. Now, cheating is a fairly common thing in our society, but when a public figure and role model does such a thing, the entire experience ends up being an utter embarrassment for them. And on top of that embarrassment, Jordan had to pay his wife a $168 million settlement.
10. Drafting Kwame Brown
So, we now know that Michael Jordan was named President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards, which meant that he was heavily involved in selecting players to draft and acquire for the team. Jordan’s ability on the court is unquestionable, but when it came to evaluating future players, his basketball IQ was fairly low, as evidenced by his decision to use the Wizards’ 2001 1st overall pick to select Kwame Brown straight out of high school. In all, Brown spent a total of four seasons with Washington, all of which can be considered as disappointments, which was not actually that surprising seeing as he never even got to experience college level competition. Brown was eventually traded to the Lakers, and from there, he went on to play for six different teams in a four-year span, and has so far not played in an NBA game since 2012. What makes this move so bad for Jordan is the fact that he could have drafted someone like Pau Gasol or Tyson Chandler, who were in that same draft, and who both have gone on to win championships.
9. That He Was Eliminated By The Orlando Magic
A big reason why Michael Jordan is considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time is because he managed to go undefeated in the NBA Finals, with six title wins in six appearances. Jordan and the Bulls were a powerhouse in the playoffs every year they were there. But as good as he and the team were, even they could not get to the Finals every single year. In 1995, when Jordan came out of retirement for the first time, the Bulls were surprisingly eliminated in the playoffs by the Orlando Magic. Now to Jordan and the Bulls’ credit, that Magic team was pretty good in its own right, and the series ended in six games, but things would have probably ended differently if Jordan had actually played more time in the regular season to get back into the rhythm of playing against NBA caliber players. The only reason why this playoff loss really sucked was because it completely ruined his big comeback.
8. His Hall Of Fame Speech
The NFL, MLB, NHL, and NBA may all be different leagues that showcase different sports, but they all have certain things in common. One of those things is that they each possess a Hall of Fame where they enshrine their sport’s best players. When Michael Jordan retired for good in 2003, there was no doubt whatsoever that he was going to be a first ballot Hall of Famer, which is exactly what happened in 2009. However, he kind of ruined the entire induction ceremony with his speech. When a player is inducted into the Hall of Fame, it is supposed to be a joyous event which celebrates that player’s career, and the player usually reflects that joy in their speech. But instead of using his speaking time to thank those he played for/with, Jordan instead decided to use that time to insult people within basketball who he did not like. The actual speech humiliated former players like Byron Russell, and coaches like Jeff Van Gundy, and ultimately did nothing but show fans that Jordan was in fact a terrible and spiteful person.
7. Being Eliminated By The Pistons Three Times
From 1991-1993, the Chicago Bulls were the best team in all of basketball, winning three straight NBA Championships. And if it weren’t for the Detroit Pistons, it is quite possible that that same team could have won four, maybe even five straight titles. Over the course of 14 seasons, the Pistons became known as The Bad Boys, as they played an incredibly aggressive and physical play style. It was because of this style that Detroit was able to win back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. For three straight seasons (1988-1990), the Pistons and Jordan’s Bulls met one another in the playoffs, and in all three of those meetings, the Pistons proved to be the better team by eliminating the Bulls. Considering that Jordan is known for never losing a championship series, the fact that he was kicked out of the playoffs three years in a row by the same team is something he really wants people to not remember. Those series somewhat tarnish his legacy by showing in the history books that he could not actually beat anyone.
6. His Final All-Star Game
All of the major North American sports leagues hold an All-Star Game each and every year, but all of these games tend to be incredibly boring to watch because the players do not want to compete in a meaningless game and risk injury. Despite the now competitive insignificance of these All-Star games, the players still like to go to them because their presence there means that they are viewed as the best players in the league. For his career, Michael Jordan participated in the game 14 times. In 2003, Jordan appeared in what would be his final All-Star Game, and because everyone knew it was going to be his final time at the event, the entire weekend was essentially dedicated to him. Player Vince Carter even gave Jordan his spot on the starting roster. In the final seconds of the game, Jordan scored what would have been the winning basket for the Eastern Conference, which would have been perfect, but Kobe Bryant scored for the Western Conference right after, forcing the game into overtime, and which saw the West win, making Jordan’s shot insignificant.
5. That He Allegedly Bullied His Teammates
Basketball might be a game primarily focused on talented individuals with big egos, but it is still very much a team sport. And in order for a team to be truly successful, there needs to be some sort of camaraderie among the team’s players. Seeing as Michael Jordan was such a great player, you would think that he would be a humble and good teammate as well. But as it turns out, he was in fact quite a jerk towards his teammates, opponents, and even some of his own employees. Steve Kerr was a teammate of Jordan’s, and he was punched in the face by the superstar after getting into a disagreement regarding a play. He would also mock teammate Bill Cartwright by calling him “medical bills” because he would get injured often, all because Cartwright came to the Bulls to replace one of Jordan’s friends. This bullying continued even while he was in Washington, as he would scorn the aforementioned Kwame Brown, whom he drafted, to the point that the young player burst into tears.
4. His Time With The Wizards
There comes a time in every great professional athlete’s career, where age eventually catches up to them and causes them to become a less effective and productive player so much so that they end up having to retire as a result. Whenever a player of Jordan’s caliber announces their retirement, it is truly a somber moment which usually includes quite a bit of tears. But unlike most players who only retire once, he retired from the NBA a total of three times. When Jordan retired for the second time in 1998, he did so after scoring the winning basket in what was his sixth championship win with the Chicago Bulls, which would have been the best way for anyone to end their career. However, in 2001, he came out of retirement to play for the Washington Wizards, who he was a minority owner of at the time. His plan was to help make the team a winner, and although he put up good numbers despite his age, he could never make the floundering team a contender as they missed the playoffs both years he played for them. This made his third and final retirement in 2003 a truly lackluster affair.
3. That He Disrespected Fans
It is true that it is the athletes who make the sport as entertaining and popular as it is, but as important as they are, most of them understand that the fans are the most important aspect of their sport as they are the ones who pay to keep the leagues alive. With Michael Jordan being one of the greatest athletes in sports history, it only makes sense that he has a huge fan base with avid followers who would love to get a chance to meet him at least once in their lives. Jordan, though, has proven multiple times that he does not respect his own fans that much as evidenced by his decision to give terrible tips to servers who professed their adoration for him. The most prominent example of Jordan’s disrespect was when Hip Hop artist Chamillionaire met him and asked him to take a picture with him. Instead of just doing it, Jordan told him that he would only take the picture if the singer bought a $15,000 jersey first.
2. Gambling Issues
Michael Jordan may have been one of the greatest athletes in all of professional sports history, but when you disregard his skills, money, and NBA accomplishments, you have a person who lives an ordinary life just like the rest of us. Since Jordan is human, it goes without saying that he too is capable of succumbing to various vices and addictions. In his case, he had to deal with having a serious gambling problem for many years. Jordan’s gambling addiction began while he was still playing in the NBA. It became a real talking point when he was seen gambling in Atlantic City the night before an important playoff game, and following this sighting, reports began surfacing claiming that Jordan owed quite a bit of money to some suspicious people. Friends have actually mentioned that Jordan had such a gambling problem, that some days he would lose as much as $1 million while playing a round of golf. It has even been theorized that his father was murdered as a result of his outstanding debts.
1. His Baseball Career
In 1993, Michael Jordan won his third NBA Championship in a row with the Bulls. But instead of following that win with a probable fourth consecutive title, he decided to announce his retirement. This was of course Jordan’s first retirement. But unlike most other players who decide to take up front office positions, or who choose to simply give up professional sports altogether, Jordan retired from basketball in an attempt to pursue a career in Major League Baseball. Jordan went on to sign with the Chicago White Sox, which at the time was owned by the same man who owned the Bulls. Both he and Jordan hoped that he would become one of only a few people to ever excel at two different sports at the professional level. It is true that Jordan’s father always wanted him to play baseball, and that Jordan himself liked the game. But as it turns out, he could not play it very well, as he never made it out of the minors, and put up a miserable .202 batting average. It was during this baseball run, that sports fans got to see the best basketball player alive waste two years of his prime basically embarrassing himself in another sport, which makes his baseball career the greatest thing he probably regrets.