Michael Jordan’s Troubles

A chronology of Michael Jordan’s off-court woes


May--During a two-day break in a playoff series with Philadelphia, Jordan took writer Mark Vancil to Atlantic City on an all-night trip. The two returned at 6:30 in the morning and Jordan attended the Bulls’ 10 a.m. workout.

Fall--The book “The Jordan Rules,” by Chicago Tribune staff writer Sam Smith, depicts Jordan as demanding special treatment from the Bulls’ management at the expense of his teammates. It also suggests that Jordan hit center Will Perdue in practice.


October--After Chicago wins the title, Jordan declines to go to the White House to meet President Bush for a special ceremony. When asked about it, Jordan says: “No way am I going. No one asked me if the date was convenient. It’s OK if the other guys go, but the White House is just like any other house. It’s just cleaner.” Jordan said that he wanted to spend time with his family and play golf at Hilton Head resort in South Carolina. Later that month, Jordan testified that a check for $57,000 written to James (Slim) Bouler was for a gambling debt. In an affidavit, the IRS said Bouler was “a suspected cocaine carrier for various drug organizations in the Charlotte and Monroe area.” Bouler was acquitted of money laundering.


February--Bail bondsman Eddie Dow is shot to death in front of his home. Investigations into his estate turned up three checks from Jordan in a briefcase totaling $108,000. The checks were made out to Dow and Dean Chapman. Dow’s attorney and brother say that the checks were for gambling debts. Dow and Chapman were said to have been at Hilton Head at the same time Jordan was there in October of 1991. Jordan denies knowledge of the checks. NBA officials, saying that they are not investigating Jordan, “look into it” and finds Jordan not guilty of any violations of league rules.

July--Jordan is seen gambling late into the night at the blackjack tables and slot machines of the Intercontinental Hotel, the U.S. Olympic basketball team’s hotel in Monte Carlo.


May--The night before a playoff game with the New York Knicks, Jordan takes a two-hour trip to Atlantic City from Manhattan in a limousine with his dad and a friend. The New York Times reports that he was in Bally’s Grand Casino until 2:30 a.m. Jordan says he took the trip but was in bed by 1 a.m.

June--Richard Esquinas, a San Diego golf pro, says in his book “Michael and Me: Our Gambling Addiction . . . My Cry For Help!” that Jordan owes him $1.25 million from betting on golf. Jordan calls that amount “preposterous.” Esquinas said he negotiated the debt to $300,000 and showed The Times proof of $200,000 paid on that. Freddie Sarno, a San Diego golf apparel manufacturer, says that Jordan and he bet on golf numerous times between 1988 and 1992 and they always bet on the games, usually for $300 to $400.

August--The body of Jordan’s father is found in a South Carolina creek.