In the world of professional sports, few men are as famous as Michael Jordan. While it’s been almost 20 years since His Airness last hit the NBA hardwood, he’s still regarded as one of the greatest—if not the greatest—player in basketball history. Even his security detail, it seems, had to treat him with the ultimate respect.
As you might assume, Michael Jordan’s security detail assigned the NBA legend a code name. In a fitting tribute to his greatness, they called His Airness by a specific—and forbidden—name for God.
Michael Jordan proved his greatness on the basketball court
Over the course of his career, Michael Jordan transcended the realm of sports and became a true global celebrity. At the end of the day, though, His Airness made a name for himself as a supremely talented basketball player.
While Jordan encountered an early setback when he infamously failed to make his high school’s varsity basketball team at the first attempt, that reality didn’t stop him from finding a home on the hardwood. By the time he graduated, MJ had become a McDonald’s All-American.
After graduation, Jordan’s star only continued to rise. During his time with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, His Airness hit the game-winning shot to seal an NCAA title as a freshman; in the NBA, he’d only take things even further.
Although he had some initial issues getting past the Detroit Pistons, Jordan proved to be a force of nature at the NBA level. In addition to winning six championships, he earned five MVP awards and took home just about every other award imaginable.
MJ’s net worth has ballooned to massive levels in retirement
During his time on the court, His Airness found plenty of success. That trend didn’t stop in retirement; if you’re skeptical of that reality, just look at Michael Jordan’s net worth.
Although Jordan’s NBA salary was relatively modest by today’s standards—he earned about $93 million in total—his celebrity status more than picked up the slack. MJ, of course, inked a massive contract with Nike and endorsed everything from underwear and McDonalds. While he’s obviously no longer playing pro basketball, he also became an NBA owner, which only adds to his impressive financial portfolio.
As of March 2020, Forbes pegs Jordan’s net worth at $1.6 billion. Even if that’s not a conventional ‘win, it’s still a pretty impressive in its own right.
Michael Jordan was called ‘Yahweh’ by his security detail
Over the years, Michael Jordan earned plenty of impressive nicknames; on one occasion, he even called himself ‘Black Jesus.’ That wasn’t the only time, however, that his greatness earned him a religious moniker.
“In case anyone in the inner circle forgets who’s in charge, they only have to recall the code names given to them by the private security team assigned to overseas trips,” Wright Thompson recalled in an ESPN profile of MJ for the legend’s 50th birthday. “Estee [Portnoy, Jordan’s business manager] is Venom. George [Koehler, a close friend] is Butler. Yvette [Prieto, Jordan’s then-fiance] is Harmony. Jordan is called Yahweh — a Hebrew word for God.”
Yahweh, however, isn’t just the Hebrew word for God. As explained by The Compass, the official newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, Yahweh is considered to God’s name and, therefore, is taboo; the average person would never say the name out loud and, in day-to-day life, replaced it with titles like Adonai and Elohim.
It’s not clear how Michael Jordan ended up going by a forbidden religious title. Whether he assigned it to himself or the security detail chose it, though, someone clearly thought pretty highly of His Airness.