The 10-part documentary, The Last Dance which highlights the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls NBA team on their quest to win a sixth championship has delighted fans across the globe. Thus far, the documentary has done a deep dive into the lives of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, and coach Phil Jackson, both on and off the court.
A good portion of the documentary discusses Jordan’s parents, Delores and James R. Jordan, Sr. and how instrumental they were to him. Using present-day and archival footage, the Jordans talk about how much they loved their son. In fact, The Last Dance revealed that it was Jordan’s mother, Deloras Jordan who pushed her son to sign a contract with Nike, a relatively unknown brand at the time.
Jordan’s father, James Jordan was also present at many games, even speaking with the press following the release of Sam Smith’s 1992 book, The Jordan Rules which did not highlight the NBA legend in the best light. Sadly in 1993, James Jordan was murdered. Here’s everything we know about the tragedy.
Michael Jordan’s father inspired him to play basketball
In The Last Dance, Jordan got candid about his parents inspired him and his siblings to play sports while growing up in North Carolina. In fact, baseball was his first love, but basketball was put on his radar because of his father.
“It began as my father’s idea,” Michael told The New York Times. “We had seen Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders try two sports and my father had said that he felt I could have made it in baseball, too. He said, ‘You’ve got the skills.’ He thought I had proved everything I could in basketball, and that I might want to give baseball a shot. I told him, ‘No, I haven’t done everything. I haven’t won a championship.’ Then I won it, and we talked about baseball on occasion, and then we won two more championships. And then he was killed.”
Michael Jordan’s father James Jordan was murdered in 1993
On July 23, 1993, James Jordan was driving from Wilmington to Charlotte in North Carolina. The 56-year-old was returning home from a funeral and he pulled over in his new a red Lexus SC400 with the North Carolina license plate that read UNC0023 for a quick nap. The NBA star had recently purchased it for him.
As he slept, Daniel Andre Green and Larry Martin approached the car, shot Jordan, stole the car, and dumped his body in a swamp in McColl, South Carolina. His body was not discovered until August 3 and due to the decomposition, it was not identified until later that month when dental records matched.
James Jordan was killed in a botched robbery
When Green and Martin approached Jordan’s vehicle, their intent was to steal the car, but Green allegedly pulled the trigger. After stealing the car, they discovered that Jordan was the father of the NBA star when the found, two NBA championship rings and his cell phone. After making several calls from the late Jordan’s phone, the pair were captured and are currently serving life in prison.
Jordan’s widow, Deloras Jordan founded the James R. Jordan Foundation in 2000. The foundation, “provides a pathway out of poverty by empowering youth to achieve their full potential and by leveling the playing field so they can become successful human beings and productive contributors to society.”