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Was Michael Jordan Suspended for Gambling?

In 1993 the Chicago Bulls had just finished winning their third World Championship, and looked completely unbeatable for the next decade (or two). Michael Jordan picked up his third ring to go along with his third NBA Finals MVP Award, and of course played in another All-Star game earlier in the year (He would end up winning 6 NBA Championships, 6 NBA Finals MVP Awards, and appear in a total of 14 NBA All-Star Games. Don't forget about his five NBA MVP Awards, Two Gold Medals for USA and even being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.)

Michael Jordan is considered (Safe Online Gaming agrees) to be the GOAT of Basketball. Sorry LeBron and Kobe! And rightly so. His legacy on the court is unequaled. He is a winner, but more than that. He was a team player and willing to do anything to help his team earn another banner to hang from the rafters. Jordan earned NBA Defensive Players of the Year, Rookie of the Year, 10-time Scoring Leader, 3-time Steals Leader, Slam Dunk Contest Champion and even had the MVP trophy named after him.

However, Jordan was such a competitor that he loved the thrill and excitement of winning that he earned a reputation as a serious gambler. As a matter of fact, the night before Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals in 1993, Jordan was seen gambling in Atlantic City. (So "His Airness" made it an interesting series with the Bulls falling to the Knicks the first two games. They still came back and won the next four. By the way- Jordan scored 36 in Game 2 and in game 3 he dropped 54! Yes, he was that good!)

Rumors continued to spread like wildfire of his uncontrollable gambling, and in October 1993, the greatest NBA Player of All-Time traded his sneakers for cleats to play baseball for the White Sox organization. For two years basketball fans had to endure watching the Houston Rockets claim two titles while Jordan tried to hit a curve ball! Media tried to say that his "retirement" was in fact a gambling suspension.

Gambling has always been a part of Jordan's life. While in college he would play pool for money. In practice, he would wager on special performances. When he entered the riches of the NBA, he was known to play with the high rollers in the Bulls camp. He would even bet on the Jumbotron cartoon races. Another story of him using questionable methods to win a bet occurred when the Bulls were heading to Portland. After disembarking, Chicago players waited for their luggage, and MJ bet $100 on his bag coming out first. (Another story of him using questionable methods to win a bet occurred when the Bulls were heading to Portland. After disembarking, Chicago players waited for their luggage, and MJ bet $100 on his bag coming out first. )

While being the leader of the "Dream Team" in the 1992 Summer Olympics, the team went to Monaco which is known as being the home of the Monte Carlo Casino! He built a rolling late-night card game with major basketball stars like Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing.

Returning home from the Olympics, he was forced to testify in February 1993 over a $57,000 check to James “Slim” Boulder, a gambler and alleged drug dealer. The courts sentenced Boulder to nine years in prison over money laundering. Despite trying to argue that the check was for a business loan, he admitted that it was gambling debt accrued from games on the golf course when under oath. Another golfing partner claimed he owed him $1.3 million but later settled for $300,000. (Now, gamblers can use cryptocurrencies to hide their monetary dealings.) After these controversies, his biggest scandal would fall when basketball fans spotted him in Atlantic City during the 1993 NBA Finals. The NBA decided to investigate the matter.

Sadly, the tragic death of his father just a few weeks later, in July 1993, spurred rumors of the connection between Michael Jordan’s gambling losses and his dad’s death. In the Orange County Register, Mark Whicker said, “For now, we just know that there is evidence of the son’s gambling problem, and there is suspicion of a son’s paying problem, the father of that son has been murdered. Coincidence, anyone?” This myth was debunked, and the murder was said to be a random attack.

His first retirement, in October, added more fuel to the fire. When asked whether he would ever return, MJ said he might “if the Bulls would have me, [and] if David Stern [NBA Commissioner] lets me back in the league.” Speculation began to emerge that Michael Jordan’s gambling problem was the real reason he was suspended, not due to the loss of his love for the game, as he had implied.

There are two reasons that stand about the rest when trying to prove that the "secret suspension" myth was a farce! First, David Stern flatly denied that the NBA had anything to do with MJ’s decision. “As far as the NBA is concerned,” Stern insisted, “Michael Jordan did nothing wrong, and I resent any implications to the contrary.” The league closed its investigation into Jordan two days after he announced he was retiring. (Okay, well Stern is a trained lawyer and uses his words carefully.)

However, secondly, the NBA Board of Governors voted unanimously to approve his candidacy as principal owner of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010. Before approval, new owners are subject to in-depth vetting, including their financial, personal, and business dealings. Any worries about his gambling would have seen his prospective ownership quashed by fellow NBA owners. Let the record show he was approved unanimously.

Unfortunately, online gambling did not exist in 1993 otherwise Jordan could have gotten his fix without leaving the hotel room. He could have visited a safe online casino that has secure and discreet betting options in an environment of his choosing. Luckily, players today have that option!

There are thousands of sites to play, but it is important to do your research when choosing an online gaming site. Sites like or and even have all of the thrills of being at a casino in a safe secure environment.  Players can have hours of fun and a chance to win real money.  Each of these casinos have an operator standing by offering gamblers assistance 24 hours 7 days a week. 


For those operators who need a safe online site who need to purchase credits; visit sites like or

In addition to having a great opportunity to win, you don't have to pay for that high priced drink or shell out hundreds of dollars to take a flight. As always, be responsible, and set your limits.

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