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Jealous of Michael Jordan’s $2.5 Million Contract, Magic Johnson Ridiculed MJ’s ‘Tennis Shoe’ Money While Gambling

Adit Pujari

Jealous of Michael Jordan’s $2.5 Million Contract, Magic Johnson Ridiculed Mj’s ‘Tennis Shoe’ Money While Gambling

Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson are two of the biggest names of the bygone era. Where Jordan was the usurper of Magic’s throne, Magic still maintained his role as one of the greatest Laker ever. Jordan and Johnson’s rivalry gave way to their friendship. However, despite their cordial relationship, Magic could never let go of the fact that MJ bagged the Nike deal. He always remained jealous of it and even took a snipe at Michael in front of the dream team.

In his book Michael Jordan: The Life, Roland Lazenby wrote of the time the Dream Team were hanging out together before their legendary campaign for the Olympics in 1992.

Michael Jordan, who is famous for being an immense fan of gambling, was hanging out with Johnson in his suite. The gambling led to some teasing statements by Magic Johnson.

Also read: “Not Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Not Magic Johnson”: Shaquille O’Neal Once Criticized Lakers Legends for Letting His Feud With Kobe Bryant Brew

Magic Johnson made a snide remark about Jordan’s Nike money

Lazenby detailed the incident in his book. He wrote how many Dream Team players were hanging out at Magic Johnson’s Hotel Suite. The group included players such as Magic, Michael, Scottie Pippen, and Clyde Draxler among others.

In the room, while the stars were playing card games, each pot reached up to $4000, which was a lot of money back in the 90s. During this round of cards, Magic Johnson called out Jordan and his shoe money. Magic was jealous of how Michael had signed a $2.5 million deal with Nike. He often showed it in his comments.

Roland: “Esquinas joined Jordan one evening for a card game in Magic Johnson’s Torrey Pines hotel suite, a hundred bucks a hand, with pots that got up to as much as four thousand. Clyde Drexler and Pippen were among the crew, as were several collegians from the scrimmage team, including Bobby Hurley, Chris Webber, and Eric Montross. None of the collegians had the bank to join in the game, which made them the targets of Jordan’s and Johnson’s jibes. Esquinas recalled that every time Jordan put money in the kitty, Johnson would needle him about his “tennis shoe” cash. They may have become friends, but Johnson, it seemed, would never be able to get over Jordan’s Nike deal, the gift that kept on giving.”

Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson’s card game turned into a party

That day in the Torrey Pines Hotel Suite, the day did not stop with just playing cards and gambling. Though the pots of each game carried a lot of money, the hanging out time for the team soon turned into a party.

Roland Lazenby revealed that women soon joined the players in the room and tried to distract the players from their cards. This consequentially led to an incredible party from which Johnson’s jealous comment was immortalized in Lazenby’s book.

Also read: Michael Jordan’s Son, Jeffrey Jordan, Who Blew Away $80,000 In Las Vegas, Was Once Arrested For Assaulting A Hospital Worker

About the author

Adit Pujari

Adit Pujari


Adit Pujari is an NBA Journalist and Strategist at The SportsRush. He formerly worked as a debate and writing trainer. An avid fan of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, Adit began following the league in 2007. With the Lakers and Boston Celtics rivalry ripe, he found himself hooked to the sport immediately. After 15 years of religiously following the league, he decided to use his knowledge base as a sports writer in 2021. Since then, he has worked as an NBA writer, led a team of MLB writers, and has now joined The SportsRush. In his spare time, Adit loves playing pickup games and exploring hidden Himalayan trails.

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