‘Simply Say Yes or No’: Agent Reveals How Michael Jordan Negotiated His Re-Signing With the Bulls

Published 05/01/2021, 12:15 AM EDT
Michael Jordan of the Chicago Bulls during the 1997 McDonald’s Championship. (Photo by Dimitri Iundt/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)


Michael Jordan is arguably the most important player in the Chicago Bulls franchise. Ever since he was drafted in 1986, it was clear that Jordan indeed was the main man in the team.

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While MJ eventually did lead the franchise to six championships, the Bulls had their fair share of struggles before becoming a powerhouse in the NBA. Where other superstars would eventually leave the team, MJ stayed true to his word and stayed with the team for the majority of his career.

Michael Jordan enters 1996 free agency

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For the first 11 years, Jordan was by far the best player in the league. He was probably the most influential figure in basketball and was pivotal in making the NBA a worldwide phenomenon.

But despite his massive impact on the Bulls and the NBA, Jordan’s salary was not as such, with him earning just $3,850,000 for the 1995-96 season. Entering the 1996-97 off season, MJ knew he had to capitalise on his talents and thus entered the free agency. This ensued a two horse races between the Bulls and the Knicks.

Chicago Bulls All-Star forward # 23 Michael Jordan file photos. (Photo by Tom Berg/WireImage)

But unlike other superstars, Jordan didn’t clarify how much he wanted. Agent David Falk recently spoke about the same. In an interview with ESPN, Falk revealed why MJ didn’t specify what he wanted.

When Michael Jordan signed, they didn’t have maximum salaries. His value, easily, could have been $100 million a year. … [Jordan] told me he never wanted me to give Jerry Reinsdorf or the Bulls an indication of what I thought it would take to sign him.”

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He added, “When the Bulls called and they asked what it would take to sign, I explained to Jerry Reinsdorf that Michael wanted the Bulls to make their best offer. And he would just simply say yes or no.”

Basketball player Michael Jordan clenches his fist while sitting on the bench during a game at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. (Photo by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)

MJ eventually made a fortune, as he eventually was given $33,140,000 for the 1996-97 season. The most astounding part was that this was even bigger than the entire salary cap worth $26.9 million.

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Given his incredible impact on the game, it’s safe to say Jordan was worth every penny. How much do you think MJ would earn in the current NBA?

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Aditya Mohapatra

710 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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