Michael Jordan is widely known for his brilliance on the court, but he is also known for how much he loves to gamble. Literally, everybody that knew him personally probably has a story to tell.
During an appearance on the All Things Covered podcast, former Boston Celtics star Antoine Walker recalled a game of spades he played with Jordan that lasted 36 hours:
“…When Mike calls, the buy-in goes a little higher. Let me just start with that,” Walker explained. “So it’s gonna be a number put on that everybody got to bring to the table. I’d say probably $20,000. Gotta have 20… just to get in. You ain’t got 20 to get in, you can’t even play, so that starts that.
“And then Mike is competitive, man. I remember one time we played spades for 36 hours. We were playing against two other guys. Me and Mike were partners and… they had us stuck, behind 900,000.
“What made it even more interesting, it was the day he actually was supposed to make his announcement he was officially coming back. He canceled the press conference, everything. We played for 36 hours, man.”
When asked if they were using markers during the game — Walker explained that they all had cash on hand for the game.
“This is what happened: I was leaving for Boston in a couple days, so I had about $100,000. I was always a cash person, I had my money,” Walker recalled. “MJ had about $200 (thousand) on him. MJ sent for half a million, cash. Sent for it. And then the other guys we played against had money, too. So they had us down $900,000.
“We got all the money except $20,000. Mike did not want to see them with 20, so they ended up winning 180. He got too tired, we couldn’t go no more. He was falling asleep at the table… Every gambling session didn’t go 36 hours, but we had some competitive gambling sessions.”
The Hall of Famer’s competitive streak is legendary and was also a running theme throughout The Last Dance docuseries.
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