While Michael Jordan made his name on the basketball court, the NBA legend only knows one way to go about his business. Whether he’s shooting hoops, playing cards, or doing word searches, he has to play to win. Unsurprisingly, that desire to be the best extends onto the golf course. Just ask Justin Thomas.
Although MJ is a talented golfer, he’s apparently willing to seize an extra advantage when the opportunity presents itself. According to Thomas, Jordan has been known to take some liberties on the links in order to set him up for the best possible shot.
Michael Jordan still looms large as one of sports world’s serial winners
Speaking purely in terms of basketball accomplishments, His Airness has one of the best resumes in NBA history. While six championships, five MVP titles, and countless other individual honors speak for themselves, that’s only part of Jordan’s winning ways.
In addition to his incredible talent, MJ needed to win and was willing to do whatever it took to reach the top of the mountain. He would trash-talk opponents and teammates alike, hoping to gain the slightest advantage, and held himself to incredibly high standards. Even the Space Jam set, for example, morphed into a gym in order to help Michael be at his best.
Jordan didn’t take things any easier when he left the hardwood. Over the years, countless stories have emerged detailing how the NBA legend cheated at cards, pushed the boundaries of golf etiquette to win a bet, and did whatever else he could in order to claim the top spot. The underlying message is impossible to miss: Compete against His Airness at your own risk.
Justin Thomas told everyone how His Airness cheats on the golf course
Given everything we know about Jordan and his competitive ways, it’s not unreasonable to think that he’d cheat on the golf course. In September 2020, Justin Thomas seemed to confirm that reality while wearing a microphone.
Thomas paired up with Tiger Woods for a match against Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy in honor of the opening of Woods’ Payne’s Valley Golf Course. Tiger didn’t have much of a home-court advantage, though, as he pulled his first tee shot out of play. As the four men walked down the fairway, Thomas interjected to explain how His Airness would handle that situation.
“It would be like playing with MJ [if we found that tee shot],” Thomas explained, according to BroBible. “‘I got it, it’s right here. Oh, Tiger, it kicked out into the fairway.’”
Again, everything we know about His Airness suggests that he’s a pretty capable golfer. Anyone can shank a tee shot, though, and getting a free drop in the fairway certainly wouldn’t hurt.
Michael Jordan and Justin Thomas do have some history on the golf course
In fairness to Michael Jordan, there’s no way to know if Thomas is telling the truth. It is worth noting, though, that the two men do have some history on the golf course.
Thomas’ father was a teaching pro at a golf course in Kentucky, meaning that Justin spent plenty of time working as a caddy. He carried Jordan’s bag on occasion — the NBA star would stop by the course during trips to the Kentucky Derby — and, on one occasion, the future PGA pro even partnered up with His Airness to play a few holes. The duo came out on top, helping the 16-year-old score a bit of extra money. Thomas also added that the pair “had a pretty memorable day that we still talk about.”
While it’s possible that the golfer was stretching a truth a little bit, everything seems to add up. We know MJ loves to win and have heard stories about his willingness to cheat. He and Thomas also have a pre-existing relationship, which adds a bit of extra credibility to the comment. On the whole, though, it’s safe to assume that playing golf against Michae Jordan is never a wise idea. Whether he cheats or not, His Airness plays to win.