For His ‘One True Love’, Michael Jordan Once Pushed NBA to Raise the Dunk Contest Prize to $20,000 Just to Escape It: “I Know What He’s Up To”

Published 01/25/2023, 2:30 PM EST
NBA, Basketball Herren, USA Basketball Michael Jordan Michael Jordan, Chicago Bulls, in action in a game againt the Phoenix Suns in 1996. Chicago IL United States Copyright: xDUOMO/PCNx BK0803_106467

Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan is not only limited to the game of basketball. He has had stints in the MLB and his love for golf is well known. In fact, he once ditched the NBA for golf. Back in 1990, the league wanted its best player to be present in the NBA All-Star game being held in Charlotte. Moreover, they wanted him to participate in the dunk contest, which MJ had already won before. However, ‘His Airness’ had other plans.

Not only did he not turn up for the dunk contest, but he also raised the prize money for the competition. Additionally, he also faked an injury with the Chicago Bulls to refrain from being anywhere near the dunk contest.

Michael Jordan ditched the dunk contest for golf


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During his illustrious time in the league, Michael Jordan won almost everything there was to win. It also includes winning a dunk contest in 1988 among various other accolades and titles. For this reason, he didn’t want to participate in any more contests.

The officials tried to reach MJ over the phone, but he was busy somewhere else. He was playing golf. MJ said, “I’ve been getting his messages, but I’m not going to call him. I know what he’s up to.”

NBA Basketball – Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan dunking the ball during a game against the Milwaukee Bucks on April 16, 1996 in Milwaukee where the Bulls gained their 70th win of the season. (Photo by Craig Hacker/Sporting News via Getty Images via Getty Images)

In 1990, he made sure the league raises its prize money in order to persuade Jordan to participate in the games. Surprisingly, they gave in to Jordan’s demands as the prize money was raised from $12,500 to $20,000. However, his antics didn’t stop, as revealed in ‘The Jordan Rules’ book.

He replied, “I’ll think about it.” The next thing you know, the Bulls announced that Jordan had suffered a minor injury just before the All-Star weekend and for this reason, he wouldn’t be taking part in the dunk contest.


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The league officials were hell-bent on bringing Jordan to Charlotte that year. They were hoping he would at least turn up to the three-point contest, which he did. However, MJ had only five points, which happened to be his all-time low. It seemed as if Jordan had had his way with basketball, and the All-Star games, in particular.


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Jordan once bought back a golf club after getting kicked out

Needless to say, Michael Jordan doesn’t tolerate any disrespect from anyone. He was once asked to leave the La Gorce in Miami as he was wearing cargo pants.

In typical MJ style, he dished out $20 million from his pocket and the next thing you know, Jordan was the proud owner of a golf club. He owns ‘Grove XXIII’ in Hobe Sound, Florida, which spans over 15,000 square feet. The exclusive club has less than 100 members, which include celebrities, athletes, and professional golfers.


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WATCH THIS STORY: How Michael Jordan Earns And Spends His Billions

What is your favorite memory of Michael Jordan? Let us know in the comments down below.



Abhinava Ghosh

1297 articles

Abhinava is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He is currently pursuing his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication. Abhinava has been following NBA for the past 6 years and is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry.

Edited By: Tony Thomas