sport news Michael Jordan and The Last Dance: His gambling habits from $1.2m debt to ...

Here's how to prepare for one of the biggest games of the season, Michael Jordan-style.

Step one: travel from New York to gambling hub Atlantic City in New Jersey. Step two: stay out late enough that the New York Times claims you were there until 2.30am. Step three: underperform and lose the game.

and ESPN's brilliant 'The Last Dance' laid bare the extent of Jordan's famed gambling habits in episode six over the weekend. It was centred around the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals, when the Chicago Bulls lost game two to the Knicks.

The Last Dance documentary covered Michael Jordan's gambling habits while he was a player

The Last Dance documentary covered Michael Jordan's gambling habits while he was a player

Jordan was alleged to have amassed huge debts while gambling on games of golf

Jordan was alleged to have amassed huge debts while gambling on games of golf

Jordan found himself at the centre of a scandal. To this day, he insists it was over-egged, a form of relaxation that got him away from the harsh spotlight of the Big Apple. 

As far as he was concerned: 'We got a limo, we went and gambled for a couple hours, and we came back. Everybody went totally ballistic. It wasn't late. We got home by 12.30, 1'.

That is what Jordan – who has a reported net worth of $2.1billion (£1.7bn) – said while filming the documentary, now an older and wiser head. 

But back in 1993, his gambling habit became the centre of a storm that only dissipated when the Bulls won the Eastern Conference and then the NBA Championship, pulling off a famous three-peat in the process.

Jordan went on a trip to a casino in Atlantic City before playing the New York Knicks in 1993

Jordan went on a trip to a casino in Atlantic City before playing the New York Knicks in 1993

There was scrutiny beyond that trip to Atlantic City, though. 

It emerged that he skipped the Bulls' trip to the White House after winning the 1991 NBA Finals so that he could go gamble with golf shop owner and convicted cocaine dealer James 'Slim' Bouler.

Bouler was eventually arrested on drug and money laundering charges. While investigating him, police found a $57,000 cheque from Jordan. It eventually emerged it was to cover a gambling debt.  

Then Richard Esquinas published a book called 'Michael and Me'. Esquinas was a self-described recovering gambling addict and addressed his and Jordan's alleged problems in the text.

He also claimed Jordan owed him a staggering $1.2million in gambling debts from golf bets. Jordan denied that and Esquinas later said they settled with a payment of $300,000.

Richard Esquinas wrote a book in which he alleged Jordan owed him $1.2m in gambling debts

Richard Esquinas wrote a book in which he alleged Jordan owed him $1.2m in gambling debts

It was not just big-figure bets. Jordan would play cards with reporters Sam Smith and Lacy Banks while on the road. He also used to bet on mascot races but almost always won because Chicago arena staffers would tell him who would finish first beforehand, according to CBS. 

The documentary also details his bets with team-mates. The Bulls had a notorious card school on their planes and coaches and huge sums of money would change hands – with Jordan usually involved. 

While with Team USA at the 1992 Olympic Games, he was part of a card game with the likes of Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and Patrick Ewing – all stars with deep pockets. They would play deep into the night.

He supposedly lost $5m in a Las Vegas casino in a single night during his career and even used to bet team-mates on whose luggage would come out first at the arrivals lounge at the airport.

Jordan was part of a card game with his Team USA team-mates at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

Jordan was part of a card game with his Team USA team-mates at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics

Former Chicago Bull Jay Williams, who joined the team after Jordan left, told a story about his habits in 2015. 

He explained that he had been told by others on the team that Jordan – who was earning nine figures from his playing career and shoes at that stage – would even bet big money on rock,

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