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One-on-One with Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan sits down for an exclusive interview with Marvin R. Shanken, Editor and Publisher of Cigar Aficionado.

(continued from page 3)
MRS: What cigar?
JORDAN: At the time, I started out with the Hoyo de Monterrey Double Corona.
MRS: That's a good hour smoke.
JORDAN: Taking my time. I never rushed. As soon as I walked in, Phil [Jackson] would say, OK, you had a long drive. It became such a relaxing thing to do. Not many people know about it. When they read this, they'll know that each and every day for a home game, I smoked a cigar. I wanted that feeling of success, and relaxation. It's the most relaxing thing.
MRS: People don't understand. When I'm in the office and I have a problem, I light a cigar, and my mind expands and I'm able to solve the problem.
JORDAN: It is the most relaxing thing. Every time I get to a point where everything is coming at me, I would rather just sit back and smoke a cigar and relax.
MRS: What are your favorite cigars today?
JORDAN: Partagas Lusitanias. I love those. And I'm in love with all Cubans. I've become a big Cuban cigar smoker. I gradually worked my way up from Las Vegas rum-dipped to all the different types.
MRS: What size cigar do you like?
JORDAN: Depends on the time, depends on the day, depends on what I'm doing. If I'm in a rush, I can go for a robusto—not that it's not going to be rushing, but it's smaller.
MRS: You ever have an Epicure No. 2?
MRS: Partagas Serie D?
JORDAN: Sure. You've got me smoking these Montecristo No. 2s, and these are so strong. If I hadn't had anything to eat, I wouldn't touch this. These are for the end of the night, and I'm getting ready for the end of the day. If I had to smoke a cigar that I can get through, that would be an Esplendido. I can get through those.
MRS: So, today, when do you smoke?
JORDAN: I already smoked today. I went to work out, and I had a cigar on the way, fighting the traffic the whole way.
MRS: What kind of cigar did you smoke this morning?
JORDAN: I had a Cohiba Siglo II.
MRS: Have you ever been to a cigar factory?
JORDAN: No, and it's my biggest dream to visit Cuba and visit some of these factories. Obviously with the embargo it's a little difficult.
MRS: Dominican Republic, Honduras, Nicaragua. Maybe we will have to take a tour.
JORDAN: I'd love to go. I'm open. I have a strong interest. Don't ask me how many a day I smoke.
MRS: I don't tell people how many I smoke a day, either. Arnold Schwarzenegger—I believe we can describe him as a successful actor. Huge cigar guy. Now he's the governor of California.
JORDAN: No! No! No! Not interested.
MRS: Have you ever in your weakest moment thought about going into politics?
JORDAN: No, I just haven't had a strong passion for politics.
MRS: What do you think about public people in important positions who smoke, including the current president of the United States, who doesn't want people to know. But then there are guys like Arnold, who built a tent behind the capitol building in Sacramento so he could smoke. And there's Rudy Giuliani. It's a pleasure of his. Obviously, you don't think there's anything wrong with smoking a fine cigar, but what about other people who enjoy cigars and aren't willing to at least acknowledge that?
JORDAN: Yeah, I think about it. I put myself in that position early on because of the negative influence that it is perceived to be. Drinking is, too. A lot of people drink.
MRS: But wine today is more accepted.
JORDAN: But alcohol is alcohol, no matter how you look at it. I've come to grips with it, however, and even sitting down to talk with you is part of my decision. I'm stepping away from that public image, from that other self that's been around for so many years. These are the things that I enjoy. These are the passions that help me get from point A to point B. The relaxation that I get from it.
Certain people may want to know that. That's one of the reasons I'm doing this with your magazine. I'm not endorsing anything, or telling kids they should pick up cigar smoking or drink beer. These are things that I enjoy. This is my passion. They are some of the things that I like to do.
At some point, you have to take your life back from the public, to enjoy it. And I'm at that stage where now I'm taking my life back from the public and doing the things that I enjoy doing. Like motorcycle riding, which I couldn't do because I had this situation with my contracts and my commitments to the game. But I grew up riding a motorcycle, and now I'm doing more of those things I like. And I'm enjoying myself.
People have to understand that I'm still a person, and there are things that I enjoy doing. Yes, I enjoy working with kids and giving them positive things to think about, about how to get from where they are to where they want to be. But that doesn't mean that I can't be the person that I want to be and do the things that I want to do.
MRS: That's so important. Basically you're saying, I'm going private. Being true to myself.
JORDAN: Exactly.
Ron Comrie Lakewood Ranch, Florida, United States, December 26, 2012 1:49pm ET
Can you please tell me the name/style of the Movado watch Michael Jordan is wearing on the cover photo? Thanks.

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