Michael Jordan’s father, James R. Jordan Sr., had an incredible influence on his son’s amazing basketball career. The NBA legend was devastated when his dad was murdered in 1993.
Michael Jordan, 57, is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time and his legendary career with the Chicago Bulls is being explored in the ESPN documentary The Last Dance. The May 10 episode will focus on the year 1993 when Michael walked away from basketball in October of that year after winning his third NBA Championship. Michael’s decision to retire came just months after his father, James R. Jordan Sr., was brutally murdered. HollywoodLife has 5 key things you need to know about James.
1. James Jordan was murdered at the age of 56 in July 1993. James was on his way from Wilmington to Charlotte in North Carolina on July 23, 1993, when he stopped to nap in his car on the side of the highway. While he slept, James was shot and killed during a botched robbery, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was shot in the chest. His body was dumped in a swamp in McColl, South Carolina. Eleven days after his murder, James’ body was discovered.
2. His body had to be identified using dental records. When his body was discovered, he was not initially identified as James Jordan. He was cremated as a John Doe on Aug. 7, 1993, by a coroner. James’ family did not file a missing persons report until Aug. 12. His body was identified one day later using dental records.
3. Two men were convicted of his murder. Larry Demery and Daniel Green were sentenced to life in prison for the murder of James Jordan. As of March 2020, Larry is being considered for parole, TMZ reports.
4. James inspired Michael to pursue a baseball career. While Michael is known for basketball, he had also played baseball in high school. Michael opened up about why he walked away from basketball to tackle baseball in a 1994 interview. “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.”
5. His wife, Deloris Jordan, runs a foundation in his name. Deloris 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.”