NBA legend Michael Jordan is best known for his time with the Chicago Bulls. Now retired, the billionaire has built a lucrative empire through deals with Nike. His fascinating life and career have been the focus of the ESPN documentary series, The Last Dance.
In episode six, fans were surprised to learn about the amount of money Jordan spent on gambling. In 1993, in an interview with CBS correspondent Ahmad Rashad, Jordan claimed that he had a “competition problem” and did not have issues with gambling. According to CBS, Jordan has a long known history of “betting on everything from golf and cards to minor competitions with teammates (and even security guards).”
Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, had the chance to see Jordan in action firsthand while gambling together at a Reno casino. He recently shared his experience with the podcast, Pardon My Take.
Mark Cuban and Michael Jordan have a lot in common
Jordan is considered to be the one of the richest athletes in the world. He has made most of his money through collaboration deals with Nike, reportedly making $100 million a year in royalties alone. His Jordan Brand makes close to $3 billion in annual revenue. Forbes estimates his net worth at $2.1 billion.
The iconic NBA star is the current owner of the Charlotte Hornets and owes a large part of his wealth to the team’s skyrocketing value. He purchased the team in 2010 for $175 million, and it is now worth more than $1.5 billion. Jordan owns 97 percent of the equity in the Hornets. Forbes reported that annual earnings from the franchise are estimated at $145 million.
Cuban, the richest member of Shark Tank, has a reported net worth of $4.3 billion, which is double that of Jordan. Making most of his money through the sale of startup companies in the 1990s, he is the current owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team.
Cuban recently revealed that he owns close to $1 billion in Amazon stock. He is considered to be one of the wealthiest men in America.
Playing blackjack with a legend
Mark Cuban ended up partying with Michael Jordan following a golf tournament in Reno. He recalled on the podcast that it was the first time he really got to hang out with the Jumpman.
Cuban explained that former NBA player, Charles Barkley, invited him to come down to the casino to play blackjack. When Cuban arrived, he said sitting around the gaming table was Barkley, Jordan, tennis icon Pete Sampras, and Pittsburgh Penguin ice hockey legend Mario Lemieux.
Cuban said in his interview that he pulled out a hundred dollar bill, and Jordan replied, “What the (expletive)? You can’t play $100 at this table.”
Jordan was making $10,000 bets, and Barkley was throwing down $5,000. Jordan told the casino pit boss to “give Mr. Cuban a million-dollar line of credit.” Cuban referred to it as the “craziest moment.” Cuban started playing a thousand dollars a hand, saying it was the most he had ever played.
He said they had a blast partying together. Later, he went to a party with Barkley, who bought 50 bottles of tequila and was handing them out. Cuban refers to that moment as “one of the best party nights ever.”
When asked about Jordan’s gambling strategy, Cuban said that MJ was playing two hands at a time for 25 grand each. He said that since Jordan wanted to play two hands, he moved over to the table next to them where there was more room. Cuban referred to Jordan as “hardcore.”