One-on-One with Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan sits down for an exclusive interview with Marvin R. Shanken, Editor and Publisher of Cigar Aficionado.
Marvin R. Shanken
From the Print Edition:
Michael Jordan, July/August 2005
(continued from page 9)
MRS: What's the project you're involved with there, the Aqua View Luxury Condominium—Hotel Resort and Spa?
JORDAN: A gentleman named Michael Peters came to me, and he is involved in building condominiums. It's a big trend in Vegas. MGM MIRAGE, all these companies are doing it. He wanted my association with the project. I told him that my biggest expertise in that arena would be to do restaurants. I've done restaurants in the past. I have a company that starts up and builds Michael Jordan Steak Houses. So we decided that would be my role in this whole scenario, doing restaurants in that building. That is my connection.
MRS: Also, I read, an athletic center.
JORDAN: That is a concept that we don't know if we are going to follow through or not. But that is one concept we are discussing.
MRS: In all the press, you are not at all involved with the casino in that project. Is that because it might have an effect on your ability to own an NBA team?
JORDAN: Probably. But that's not one of my interests.
MRS: Talk to me about this little white [golf] ball.
JORDAN: That addiction. Now, that is an addiction.
MRS: When did you start playing golf?
JORDAN: I started playing the summer of 1984. I had just committed to go pro. And I went out and played some holes at North Carolina. I went with a good friend of mine, John Simpkins, who was on the golf team at the time with Al Wood, and we played 18 holes with Davis Love [III], who was attending North Carolina at the time. I parred one of the 18 holes, and I've been hooked ever since.
MRS: Aren't you good friends with Tiger Woods?
JORDAN: Oh yeah. Tiger and I met about eight years ago. It's ironic, because he is in the same scenario from a marketing and business standpoint that I was when I came into the NBA. I've been able to answer some of the questions that he's had about dealing with certain things. Our friendship has grown since then. And we talk all the time about mental approach, dealing with the expectations from the public.
MRS: I can see where you have, from a personal standpoint, so much in common in your own respective areas. Have you ever joked around with him because a lot of people call him the Michael Jordan of golf? How does he handle that?
JORDAN: He's OK. He doesn't really look at it that way. I don't rub it in. I let him know that I'm a little bit older than him, and so I beat him to the punch. And that's the only thing it means. It's just a standard of measurement. When I came out, they said I was the Dr. J of the NBA until I earned my own.
MRS: Another thing that I'm really disappointed about, if my research is correct, is that you don't shoot craps. But I hear that you are a pretty good blackjack player. Is that true?
JORDAN: Well, I lose. Just like everybody else. Does that determine if you're good or not? I know the rules.
MRS: I spoke to a guy who shall remain nameless who said to me that you are one of the few athletes that wins more than he loses, and when you're ahead, you know how to walk, and when you're behind, you know how to walk. You are a disciplined blackjack player, and he has a great deal of respect for you.
JORDAN: Is it one of those casino owners? I'm not greedy. Gambling can initiate greed. You want more, or you want to get it back. You have to pick a number, and that's my number. It's all relative to what you feel comfortable with. Mine may vary from yours, and ours may vary from a lot of people. It doesn't take much to beat my head in. Have I lost a lot? Sure. Have I won a lot? Sure. What's considered a lot? I have satisfied myself both ways. For me, that's my enjoyment.
MRS: I see there's a wine cellar here in your house. Tell me about it. Is it your interest or your wife, Juanita's?
JORDAN: I am a Grade C wine drinker or connoisseur. My wife is a B. She got me involved. Although she's not the only person who got me interested. When I signed with Bijan fragrances, Mr. Bijan took me out one day and we had dinner. He got me a bottle of 1961 Château Margaux. And I fell in love with Bordeaux.
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Ron Comrie — Lakewood Ranch, Florida, United States, — December 26, 2012 1:49pm ET
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