One-on-One with Michael
After a retirement, a comeback and yet another retirement, Michael says he's finally settling into a "normal" life. He's been out of the spotlight for a few years, testing his skills as a coach—to his three teenage children!
"It's tough for an athlete who's been all over the place, been doing a lot of things, and had a lot of responsibility for himself and [is] now just trying to quietly get back to some type of normal lifestyle," Michael says. "Before I came to Chicago, I had a normal life. I could walk down the streets. I could do a lot of things. But now I'm starting to do a [few] more things as my kids get older."
Michael may be sitting on the bench now, but today's superstar athletes, like LeBron James , still hold him in the highest esteem.
"It gives me great pride that what I've done has, I guess, risen my name, as well as my personality, to a certain good standard," Michael says.
Michael's brothers and sisters took jobs in North Carolina's tobacco fields to be able to buy themselves new shoes, bicycles and other childhood luxuries. But not Michael—he was content to go without so that he could pursue his true passion.
"I'd rather play basketball," Michael says. "And with that attitude, I think my parents looked and said, 'You know, that kid, if he ever had to work, he would have problems.' But with that in mind, that drove me to say, I don't want a 9 to 5 [job]. I want to be able to play. I don't care what sport."
That motivation obviously paid off! Now, in his retirement, Michael's become a bit of a daredevil. He's developed a passion for motorcycle riding now that his NBA days are over.
"I think now that he's retired, he has his time with his family—it's his time," Deloris says. "I am proud of all the things he has accomplished. But right now I see him enjoying his family. It's an important time in his life. I see him as a man, a young man, a father…a husband who has really grown into fatherhood."
Jeffrey, 17, has been making a name for himself in high school basketball circles, and he says opponents bring their "A" game when they're competing against a Jordan.
"I'm probably a bigger target than anybody out there just because of my last name," Jeffrey says. "You know, if anybody knows that's Jeffrey Jordan, [they think] 'I want to go at him a little harder.'"
Recently, Michael started instructing his sons on how to step up their game. But what's the best training? A little one-on-one against dad!
"We'll start out with just shooting around, and eventually it will turn into a one-on-one game, and then eventually get more competitive so we'll start talking trash," Jeffrey says. "Whoever wins gets the bragging rights."
Michael says he doesn't go easy against his sons. "In due time, they will beat me," he says, "but right now I'm taking great pride in beating them. Believe me."
The only thing more intimidating than going up against a Jordan under the basket is dating Michael's 13-year-old daughter! Oprah wants to know…what's it going to be like when guys come to the door? "She's going to be a handful," Michael says. "I feel sorry for who's coming to the door!"
However, the brand has always been exclusively for men…until now! Nike is unveiling its Jordan Women's Collection. Check out some of the hot gear.
"You should have seen all the letters that I was getting from women, saying, 'When are you going to come out with a ladies' line?''' Michael says. Previously, women who wanted Air Jordan sportswear would have to buy smaller men's or boys' sizes. But, Michael says, "this year we really made a big push. We said, 'You know what? We're going to cater to the ladies.'"
"Modeling" the Jordan Women's Collection was his dear friend, competitor, and Olympic "Dream Team" teammate Charles Barkley!
Michael: I'm only three days older.
Charles: He says he's my older brother, but he's only three days older. That's what he always says.
Oprah: Who's wiser?
Michael: Well, I know when to eat and when not to eat.
Charles: I think the difference is, he might be wiser, but I'm willing to take more chances. I'll challenge people if I think they're wrong. I don't ever worry about controversy and what other people think of me. I'm always trying to get to the next place.
So does Michael tee off with his old buddy Charles?
"He refuses to play with me anymore because I'm so bad," Charles jokes. Only it's not really a joke. Charles claims he used to be good at golf, and can even swing well during practice, but once the game starts he has a mental block. Charles says he's even seen a hypnotist about his problem. "All I got was a good nap," he says.
So why doesn't he just give up the game?
"Because then I'd be a quitter," Charles says.
As an example, Charles mentions how, when Michael first quit basketball and tried out for baseball, they would often hang out together in Arizona. "He was in Phoenix and we would go out, we'd go play pool all the time," Charles says. "We would rope off an area and there would be 100 people just standing behind the rope just staring at him all night. It was unbelievable. … They'd stand there for two hours straight."
Charles says he knows the origins of Michael's aura. "He's got great charisma. He always dresses fantastic. He has what I call 'It.'"
Was this state of things caused by the amazing successes he and Charles have experienced? "Partly," Michael says, but it's been "interpreted totally wrong."
"When you look back in our era—Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley—we earned what we got," he says. "I don't mean to demean the young kids because I think it's something that they have to learn and hopefully they will learn, [but] when corporate America came to us, we had a game that could validate their admiration. Now, [players] get that before they play one game. … I think it sets a bad work ethic. When you get something so easily, you're not going to work as hard."