When he wasn’t playing games, Jordan was just like everyone else. He enjoyed eating food, watching movies, and going to the mall.
However, because he couldn’t go out in public since fans would mob him, Jordan had to take drastic measures when he left his house or hotel room.
Michael Jordan wore a disguise once in a St. Louis mall
In 1988, Jordan did an interview with Roy Firestone and talked about the time he had to wear a disguise in St. Louis to go to the mall with his teammates. The getup worked for about an hour before fans realized His Airness was in the building.
“I had shades, I turned my hat backward and how I wore the shorts and pants and stuff and look just kind of awkward,” Jordan said. “(It worked for) about an hour and 15 minutes. A couple of my teammates were with me, but what gave it away was I was walking with Brad Sellers, and he was seven feet, and everybody sees a seven-foot guy they’re gonna say well he plays basketball, and then they kind of stared at me and that gives it away.”
Jordan won his first MVP award in 1987-88. He was also the Defensive Player of the Year, so his popularity was through the roof. The Bulls star averaged 35.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 3.2 steals per game.
Everyone wants to be famous in life. However, for Jordan, becoming a prisoner of his own fame was exhausting.
Michael Jordan says there are advantages and disadvantages of being celebrated
When Jordan first started to become an icon, he enjoyed his celebrity status since it always feels good to be acknowledged. However, over time, he found his fame to be inconvenient.
“There some advantages and disadvantages for being in my shoes,” Jordan said. “But when you want to go to a mall and when you want to enjoy yourself and hang out with the guys, it makes it tough, but you have to put up with it, and sometimes you want it. I mean, initially, when I first got into the league, it was fun. After a while, it does get old, and now this is something that I have to deal with because I enjoyed it from the beginning, but I have to deal with it now.”
Jordan was focused on becoming the best basketball player in the world and leading the Bulls to championships. While he appreciated his fans, he didn’t have the personality to soak his ego since he was motivated by other things in life.
MJ became the greatest player of all time while being the most prominent athlete ever
Many athletes can lose themselves in the celebrity world and get into a lot of trouble. However, that never happened to Jordan, who never lost sight of who he was and what his job entailed.
With the Bulls, Jordan won six championships in the ’90s while going 6-0 in the Finals. Despite having the entire world watching his every step, he stayed on the right path and made basketball his number one priority in life.
Jordan finished his NBA career with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and is still talked about daily despite retiring in 2003.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.