Michael Jordan: 'I Considered Myself a Racist'

He was 'against all white people,' he says in new biography
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 7, 2014 6:17 AM CDT
Michael Jordan: 'I Considered Myself a Racist'
Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan watches the first half in Game 4 of the Bobcats' opening-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Miami Heat in Charlotte, NC, Monday, April 28, 2014.   (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)

Soon after the death of Michael Jordan's great-grandfather, who had been a cook at a whites-only hunting club, a schoolmate of Jordan's called him the n-word. "So I threw a soda at her," Jordan reveals in Michael Jordan: The Life, a biography by Roland Lazenby released yesterday. "I was really rebelling. I considered myself a racist at the time. Basically, I was against all white people." He was suspended from school after the incident, NBC News reports. As Lazenby reveals to Sports Illustrated, Jordan had reason to be angry, growing up in North Carolina during a time when "the [Ku Klux] Klan was like a chamber of commerce," and there were "more Klan members than [in] the rest of the Southern states combined." More juicy highlights from the 708-page tome:

  • He came from a family of moonshiners: Both sides were involved in the moonshine trade.
  • His sister accused their father of sexual abuse: Jordan's father was his hero. His sister says that after she made her accusations in 1975, her father threatened to send her to a girls' home, but ultimately the family moved on.
  • He struggled with baseball as a child: His baseball career "was so important to his father," Lazenby says. But while Jordan was a state MVP in Little League, he struggled when he transitioned to Babe Ruth League. Lazenby says Jordan's young baseball career was basically a "failure."
  • He actually liked Adidas better: When Nike basketball marketing exec Sonny Vaccaro met with Jordan about a possible shoe line, "[Jordan] was totally indifferent," Vaccaro says. "He wanted to go with Adidas. In the eighties, Adidas had the nicest sweat suits." Jordan later objected to the red-and-black design of the shoes, saying red was "the devil's color," the Daily Beast reports.
(More Michael Jordan stories.)

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