“Michael Jordan owed $1.2 million in golf bets but paid less than half”: When Richard Esquinas accused Bulls legend of not paying up in his gambling book

Samir Mehdi
|Published 31/05/2022

Michael Jordan was accused by Ricard Esquinas for not paying up the total $1.2 million he had lost in golf bets to him. 

Michael Jordan was known for being a gambling man. Charles Barkley once said that people with money love to gamble and that statement could not have been truer for MJ. Everything from golfing bets against Chuck Daly to tossing coins before a game against his security guard, Jordan was as competitive as it got. 

Of course, fueling that competitive nature with money on the line was exactly what Michael intended to do and the greatest avenue of his gambling antics was the golf course. He’s been quoted as saying golf is the most challenging of all sports.

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Knowing Michael Jordan, he got good at it pretty quick. Professional golfer, Rickie Fowler, has even come out and said that playing against MJ was ‘beneficial’ to his game due to the clutch gene that exists within Jordan. 

Eventually, putting up $100,000 per putt felt like it was part of the norm. Chuck was flabbergasted at the fact that he increased the ‘per putt’ price times 100. 

Michael Jordan once owed $1.2 million in golf bets. 

Michael Jordan was not ‘kicked’ out of the league by David Stern due to his gambling addiction but the fact that a theory like that exists is a testament to how much he loved to put money on the line any chance he got. 

A businessman by the name of Richard Esquinas once claimed in a book he wrote titled, ‘Michael and Me: Our gambling addiction…my cry for help!’ that Jordan owed him upwards of $1 million ($1.2 million to be exact).

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According to him, they played to a point where MJ owed him $153,000. Several ‘double or nothings’ later and the bill racked up to that figure in the millions. Jordan reportedly paid off his debt to bring the total to about $900k but refused to pay any more than $200k following that. 

The payments from the Bulls legend’s side stopped as soon as that book was put into circulation in 1993. Jordan on the other hand, has remained firm in his belief that he only ever owed Esquinas $300k, a debt that he paid off. 

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About the author
Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is an NBA Editor at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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