A $5 check endorsed by Michael Jordan after a 1984 pool bet at UNC is up for auction

Cassandra Negley
FILE - In this March 4, 2017, file photo, former North Carolina basketball player Michael Jordan applauds during a half-time presentation at an NCAA college basketball game between North Carolina and Duke in Chapel Hill, N.C. Jordan, who played high school basketball in Wilmington, N.C., one of the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Florence, has donated $2 million to assist residents affected by the hurricane. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
A check endorsed by Michael Jordan is up on the auction block this holiday season. (AP)

The auction block may never have seen a collectible quite like the one Goldin Auctions has up this month.

It’s a $5 check written out to and endorsed by Michael Jordan with an intriguing backstory that dates to his days at the University of North Carolina. It’s a smart move by a classmate who played the long game and is now parting with the memorabilia more than 30 years later.

The story goes like this, according to the listing on Goldin’s site.

Jordan, a man who loves to gamble, swung by Granville Towers on the UNC campus to play some pool on Feb. 27, 1984. The Hall of Famer started to run the table and was up $25 on the person who has the check up for auction now. A friend of the person Jordan was beating thought Jordan was hustling the friend and stepped in to play a few games. That friend won a few games in a row, and an irritated Jordan made the decision to cash out.

The pay out was $5 and the consignor, the original pool player, asked if he could write Jordan a check for the money. It’s written out to “Mike Jordan,” the name he went by on campus, though it appears to be spelled as “Mike Jordon.” Jordan endorsed the check and returned it to the consignor. It has been authenticated and is listed as in good overall condition.

The year was Jordan’s final at UNC, as he entered the NBA draft after that junior season. The consignor may have lost $5 that day, but he had the wherewithal to take a victory in the end.

The auction opened Monday at $1,000. As of midday Tuesday it was at $1,200 with three bids. It closes Dec. 7.

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