Last year, Michael Jordan's love of gambling became a topic of conversation yet again following the airing of the documentary series "The Last Dance" in 2020. Fans got a new chance to see Jordan playing quarters with Bulls security guard John Michael Wozniak, hear stories about MJ gambling and saw first hand how much of a competitor Jordan was.
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During Thursday's installment of "All Things Covered," Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden were joined by former NBA star Antoine Walker, and Walker shared a few classic Jordan gambling stories. Walker started by speaking about a specific time in which the two were playing high stakes spades at a restaurant for 36 straight hours. Yes, that is an entire day and a half:
"When Mike calls, the buy-in goes up a little higher. It's going to be a number that everybody has to bring to the table. I'd say $20,000 just to get in. If you don't have $20,000 to get in, you can't even play. Mike was competitive. I remember one time we played spades for 36 hours. We were playing against two other guys and Mike and I were partners. They had us behind $900,000."
So not only did they play for 36 hours straight, but the money on the table almost hit seven-figure digits at one point. On top of that, Walker shared that this took place right around the time that Jordan was set to announce that he was returning to the Chicago Bulls after a brief minor league baseball stint. Walker claimed that Jordan ended up postponing the scheduled press conference for his NBA return because they were playing spades.
So, how did that spades game end?
"I was leaving for Boston in a couple of days so I had about $100,000 cash. I was always a cash person. MJ had about $200,000 on him, but he sent for $500,000. The other guys we played against had money too. They had us down $900,000 and we got back all the money except for $20,000. Mike did not want to see them win $20,000. They ended up winning $180,000 because he got too tired. He was falling asleep at the table."
When Jordan needed the extra $500,000, he actually sent his nephew to retrieve the money out of his golf bag and bring it to him. Walker said that Jordan instructed his nephew not to let Jordan's wife see him getting the cash.
While this story is certainly wild, it isn't the first time that Jordan was allegedly gambled prior to a big event when it came to his basketball career. During the Bulls' postseason run in 1993, Jordan was reportedly spotted gambling in Atlantic City the night before the Bulls were facing the New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Jordan definitely has a legendary competitive streak and clearly doesn't let anything get in the way of a chance of winning -- even if it's the resumption of his basketball career.