If you were at least 34 years old, had $15,000 to spare, and were a Jordan and basketball fanatic, the Michael Jordan Senior Flight School was a dream vacation. The word “was” is important since this experience of a lifetime sadly no longer exists.
Michael Jordan Senior Flight School was a four-day camp
The Michael Jordan Senior Flight School was a four-day basketball camp for middle-aged men. It took place in Las Vegas and cost $15,000.
A limo picked up the campers from the airport and took them to the Mirage Resort Casino. There was no official itinerary for the first night, so campers were free to do whatever they liked in Las Vegas.
Each camper received a two-bedroom suite and a pair of travel bags filled with various Jordan gifts. According to ESPN‘s Gene Wojciechowski, the goody bag included a Jordan beer glass, a leather wardrobe bag, three $100 dinner vouchers for the hotel restaurants, cologne spray, two golf shirts, two basketball shorts, a key ring, six pairs of basketball socks, two pairs of Flight School basketball shorts, a pair of Air Jordans and two Flight School basketball jerseys.
Some of the best basketball minds in the world were joined by Jordan to give the campers basketball lessons. The coaches put the campers through drills to determine who they wanted to draft for their team. There were a total of eight teams made up of 10 players.
Once the games began, Jordan roamed around and sometimes joined a team that was losing by a lot. In 1999 when Wojciechowski went to the camp, the Chicago Bulls legend joined the reporter’s team since they were down by 20 and scored 18 of their next 22 points. However, Wojciechowski’s team — coached by Eddie Sutton — lost in overtime.
While the scrimmage games were fun, the most excitement occurred when Jordan taught the campers one-on-one moves and played against them.
Michael Jordan played his campers one-on-one and lost to a mutual fund CEO once
In 2003, Jordan lost a game to John Rodgers, the founder and CEO of Ariel Mutual Funds in Chicago. The six-time champion got a little too relaxed and gave up baskets to Rodgers, who played college basketball at Princeton. This famous game took place a few months after Jordan retired for the final time from the NBA.
Rogers became known as the only guy in the camp’s history to win one-on-one against Jordan. Knowing how competitive the NBA icon is, that loss probably still irks him despite likely not taking the game seriously. If Jordan and Rodgers ever cross paths again, the latter may not want to brag about that win back in 2003 because the former may seek out revenge.
The Senior Flight School ended in 2010. Jordan had decided to focus on his charity golf tournament instead, and he also became the majority governor of the Charlotte Hornets.
MJ donated chunk of 1999 camp money to Colin Powell‘s America’s Promise charitable foundation
Camp organizers told Wojciechowski in 1999 that Jordan donated a chunk of the money he made from the camp to Colin Powell’s America’s Promise charitable foundation. The five-time MVP also wrote checks for the hotel rooms, food, All-Star coaches, game officials, training rooms, and basketball court.
Jordan is 58 now and no longer hosts any camps. The regular Flight School camp for kids closed in 2017. The Hall of Famer’s main focus is likely to build a championship contender in Charlotte and become the first ex-player to win a title as a majority governor.