The 1989 NBA Finals were not the first time that Michael Jordan went head-to-head with the Detroit Pistons. The Chicago Bulls star was also a point guard for the University of North Carolina who had a fierce rivalry with the University of North Carolina State, and Jordan and his Tar Heels once beat the Wolfpack in a dramatic NCAA Championship game. The game was so important that when Jordan was drafted by the Bulls, the team that drafted him immediately traded him to the Hornets, who were in the city where UNC played. It was quite the risk, but Jordan rewarded them by becoming a star and leading the Hornets to the playoffs, where they beat the Pistons. That was not the end of the rivalry
Although he has admitted to gambling on sports, Michael Jordan has never admitted to actually losing money. But now his former gambling buddy is claiming that MJ owes him money from a 1993 wager. According to Richard Esquinas, the two-time NBA champion owed him $5 million back when he was a freshman at the University of North Carolina. Esquinas lost a $1 million bet on the Tar Heels in an NCAA Tournament game, and MJ was supposed to have covered the debt.
There is no doubt that the athletes are a competitive group. It’s no surprise that many famous athletes love to play. They don’t play their own games, that’s against the rules. Well, okay, a name comes to mind that is known for doing exactly that. But for the most part, they play friendly games like golf and the like. Phil Mickelson has put a lot of faith in other golfers on the PGA Tour. Some retired NBA players are also known for their gambling addiction. Charles Barkley shared his love of Las Vegas casinos because he could afford it, he once said. And Michael Jordan has long relied on his skills on the golf course. An opponent, Richard Esquinas, says MJ still owes him $100,000 from 1993.
Michael Jordan’s playing habits
Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan in 1989. It’s no secret that Jordan has been competitive his entire life. It’s unclear when he started playing, but the story of the small bets goes back to high school and a bet he made with a friend at prom, according to CBS Sports. When MJ started playing in the NBA, he had a steady and substantial income. In 1984, Jordan earned $550,000 for his first season with the Chicago Bulls. According to Clutch Points, his first contract was for $6.3 million over seven years. He began playing cards with his teammates and sports journalists. In 1989, Jordan met Eskinas, a publisher and investor. Esquinas and businessman Harry Cooper were investors in the San Diego sports arena where NBA stars played a practice game. Jordan and Esquinas met at a reception after the game and discovered a common interest in golf and gambling, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The next day they played 18 holes. Jordan won the game and $2,500.
A golfer’s friendship with a player ends in a book deal
Over the next few years, Jordan and Esquinas played more than 100 rounds of golf. And they kept betting. $1,000 was his standard bet per hole. They usually played 36 holes. Bets were placed if anyone fell behind. At one point in 1991, Eskinas faced the problem of a $6,000 hit, if he could have made it. He missed, and his debt to MJ rose to $98,000. Then he beat Jordan with a two-or-nothing bet, and their score was off. But instead of ending it, she continued. It got out of hand, Esquinas said. In the end, Jordan was owed $1.252 million, but he was able to reduce that amount to $902,000 during the Dream Team’s Olympic training camp leading up to the 1992 Games. Then they stopped playing and betting. They agreed to reduce the total amount of Jordan to $300,000. He made regular deposits into his account and returned $200,000. But then Eskinas wrote the book Michael and I: Our addiction to gambling… My cry for help. In that document, Esquinas claimed that MJ owed him $1.25 million. Only later did he publicly announce that they had agreed on a sum of $300,000. In the book, the Eskinas also revealed that their games often took place in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Gambling is prohibited. Although no charges were filed, they committed a crime.
The disagreement between Richard Askinas and Michael Jordan
Thirty years ago, the general manager of the San Diego sports arena gambled money against Michael Jordan and claimed that the basketball king lost $1.252 million to him. You’ll never guess what Richard Esquinas is doing now. https://t.co/vlbIqO1aWs – Mark Zeigler (@sdutzeigler) May 10, 2020 Despite the outcry over the book, Jordan hasn’t stopped playing. When he went to the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona with the Dream Team, a trip to Monte Carlo was part of his program. In his spare time, he also organized nightly card games with other basketball players. That wasn’t all. In his book The Book of Basketball, sports analyst Bill Simmons talks about a card game Jordan participated in during All-Star weekend in 2006, according to Golf. Jordan said he could stop playing, but we don’t know if he did. MJ’s net worth is estimated at $1.6 billion, making him the richest athlete in the world. Maybe he plays because he can afford it. But why didn’t he pay Eskinas the other $100,000 he owed him. Jordan argues that the publication of the book nullified any agreement and brought the balance to zero. Eskinas disagrees. For some reason, I think a lot of it was because he didn’t want to lose, he said. He wouldn’t give me an F. Maybe he was embarrassed. Writing me a check was his way of… I don’t understand if someone doesn’t want to pay. COMPARED TO: Michael Jordan was not the best player on the 1992 Dream Team
Frequently Asked Questions
Did Michael Jordan not pay gambling debts?
In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Richard Esquinas, a retired professional gambler, claims that he still has not been paid by Michael Jordan for his alleged gambling debts. Esquinas claims that Jordan lost $1.25 million in one night during their first meeting in 1991. Jordan has denied this, claiming that he never lost that much to Esquinas. In an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Richard Esquinas, a former casino executive, claimed he knows how to get the Chicago Bulls legend to pay up: “I just need to be discovered for my talent.” Esquinas explained. “It’s unfortunate, but I have to share my story. I’m not a hater or a jerk, but I want my money.” He claimed that Jordan still owes him $1.25 million from a pair of golf bets the two made in the late 1990s. It was alleged that Jordan won one of their bets and refused to pay.
How much was Michael Jordan’s gambling debt?
Michael Jordan is widely considered to be the best basketball player of all time, but in light of his gambling debt, he might be the biggest gambler as well. Jordan, who was estimated to have lost $1.25 billion gambling during his lifetime, fell into debt to casino mogul Donald Trump in the 1990s. Trump claimed that by the late 1990s, Jordan owed him $1.25 million. The two eventually settled out of court for an undisclosed sum, but Trump recently told the Chicago Tribune that Jordan still has not paid him back. Today, former sports gambler Richard Esquinas revealed that he got the chance to meet his hero Michael Jordan in the 1990s. But he never expected that to be the highlight of his trip. Esquinas was at a casino in 1994 when he crossed paths with a man who was gambling on casino games. He recognized the man as Michael Jordan and decided to engage him in conversation.
Who did Michael Jordan owe money too?
Although Michael Jordan claims he has been retired from basketball for quite some time, the NBA legend is still making headlines for his off-the-court activities. Recently, a sports gambling reporter revealed that Jordan still owes him a debt of over $1 million to a sports gambling site. Jordan’s debt dates back to 2004, when he and half of a dozen other former NBA players decided to make a friendly wager on game seven of the N.B.A. finals. In 1993, Michael Jordan struck a deal to play a single exhibition basketball game in North Carolina. Little did he know he’d be in debt to the state for years to come. After the game, Jordan was told that he owed North Carolina $5 million in back taxes. The amount was so high because, in addition to the $100,000 he was paid to appear in the game, he also spent money promoting the game.