Michael Jordan skipped White House visit to gamble with drug dealer

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·Sports Reporter
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Michael Jordan is pictured during a golf tournament in September, 1999.
The upcoming Michael Jordan documentary series 'The Last Dance' features several revelations about the former Chicago Bulls' off-court gambling habits. (Photo credit should read STR/AFP via Getty Images)

NBA fans are positively salivating over the Michael Jordan/Chicago Bulls documentary The Last Dance, which is just days away from being released on Netflix.

Basketball die-hards are itching for more insight into the lie of the man widely considered to be the greatest basketball player of all time - but those in the know are ready for a depiction of another side to the six-time NBA champion we all know.

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Jordan’s ferocious competitiveness is well known, but during his peak in the 1990s a great deal of time and effort went in to hiding some of Jordan’s less than glamorous behaviour.

After the first Bulls championship in 1991, Jordan was a no-show as his teammates shot baskets on the South Lawn with President George H.W. Bush.

At the time, no reason for Jordan’s absence was given and the story later developed that a previously scheduled family vacation was the excuse.

In fact, Jordan was golfing (and gambling) with James ‘Slim’ Bouler, a drug dealer who would eventually be convicted for money laundering.

The federal government seized a check from Jordan to Bouler for $57,000. which Jordan originally claimed was for a loan.

The Bulls champion later testified in court that the money was for what he had lost gambling on golf with Bouler.

Michael Jordan’s White House skip prompted gambling investigation

“It was not represented as a loan at all,” Jordan said, via the New York Times.

“It was my immediate reaction to the media after a game to save embarrassment and pain, and the connection to gambling.”

It wasn’t the only golf betting story connected with Jordan. In 1993, former San Diego Sports Arena general manager Richard Esquinas alleged in a book that Jordan owed him $1.25 million from gambling on golf.

“Richard Esquinas … we met from a third party,” Jordan said in The Last Dance.

“I’m actually playing golf with people all the time now and if they want to gamble, we gamble. The characters of those individuals … I find out later what kind of people I was playing with.

“I learned that lesson. But the act of gambling? I didn’t do anything wrong.”

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