Who is Deloris Jordan? The Mother of Six-Time NBA Champion Michael Jordan

Published 01/06/2021, 11:32 AM EST

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Behind every successful man, there is a woman. This is quite a common saying, and it does apply in reality. Well, it did apply in the life of Michael Jordan, who enjoyed tremendous success due to the pillar of support he received from his mother Deloris. So what do we know about the mother of the greatest basketball player of all time? 

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Deloris Jordan was born in September 1941 in North Carolina and attended Charity High School. She then met her future husband James Raymond Jordan Sr. at a school basketball game in 1954, after which James respectfully asked Deloris’ father to take her on a date. 

Their relationship bloomed soon after, and the couple got married and Deloris gave birth to her first child James Ronald “Ronnie” Jr in 1957. 


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Michael Jordan celebrated his mother’s support in ‘The Last Dance’ docuseries

Deloris is a mother of five, and raising them would have been a strenuous job. But Michael Jordan always credits his parents for teaching him proper values as a kid, which is why he never personally claims to be the GOAT! 

Deloris helped Jordan made vital life decisions, things that ended up massively to his benefit. For instance, MJ briefed how he was almost set to choose an Adidas sneaker deal over Nike when he first came into the league. Imagine if that had happened! 


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The Nike-Jordan marriage is probably the most successful one in sporting history, but it could’ve never happened if not for Deloris’ sound advice to Jordan. The Bulls player was fixated on joining his favorite brand ‘Adidas,’ but here’s what Deloris told MJ about giving Nike a chance: 

“My mother said, ‘You’re gonna go listen. You may not like it, but you’re gonna go listen’,” Jordan stated. “She made me get on that plane and go listen.”

via Imago

Michael Jordan is renowned for his competitive attitude. As an athlete, he never liked losing and always preferred to go the extra mile to attain victory. His parents taught him many of these values.

“They were hardworking people and they instilled that not just in me but in my brothers and sisters,” Jordan said, per ABC News. “It just became a part of my nature I always take a negative and turn it into a positive — that all came from my parents.”

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Deloris had a straightforward approach to parenting

Michael Jordan has immense respect for his parents and credits them as the reason behind his success. It all dates back to how Deloris and the late James Jordan brought up their kids.

Deloris used the hard route to bring her children up and it paid off. She was quite strict with their upbringing, but at the same time, it helped in grooming their life values. 

“He [Michael Jordan] tells me it would be considered child abuse today,” Deloris told ESPN of her punishments. “But it was a tough age, and I knew I had to set the precedent.”


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Moreover, she also allowed them the freedom to pursue their own career paths. 

“I always told my children, ‘Each one of you has special gifts, it’s how you use them.’ Each one had a talent, but how they approached it was different from the others. Michael might have skills for basketball, but Larry built things with his hands, and our oldest son was in ROTC and such a leader,” expressed Deloris. 


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Deloris is just not a former bank teller. After receiving a fortune of money from her son’s NBA career, she co-founded the Michael Jordan Foundation to aid unprivileged children in 1989. Her philanthropic activities didn’t end there, and she expanded her charity by stating the James R. Jordan Foundation to prove more academic support to children. 

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Written by:

Arjun Athreya


One take at a time

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.
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