Deadspin references an article on Oddjack that references an article about Michael Jordan's gambling from a site I have never seen before called Disinformation. (Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, that's a gambling site tattling on someone for... gambling.)
Brian Tuohy's article is a few years old and most basketball fans have probably heard some of this before. For instance, the notion that Michael Jordan's first retirement had more to do with avoiding trouble with the league than not wanting to play basketball anymore.
But there's more. Here is one of my favorite tidbits from the Disinformation article:
The day after this new gambling story broke about Jordan and Atlantic City; NBC announcer Bob Costas had a halftime interview with NBA Commissioner David Stern. During that interview, Costas badgered Stern about the story â much to the disdain of NBA Sports President Dick Ebersol who was screaming in Costas's earpiece to lay off and switch subjects. Costas, much to his credit, did not back down and asked the tough questions that should have been asked. But to little avail.
NBC laid off the story from that point onward. Jordan became quite tight lipped as well. He stopped talking to the media. Even though such silence - especially during the playoffs - is a fineable offense in the NBA, Jordan never received a single fine. For Stern and the NBA, Jordan's silence might have been a blessing in disguise.
During this second, and much more thorough investigation, the league was to discover that not only were the amounts involved larger, but also that the accusations were much more damning. According to the book Money Players: Days and Nights Inside the New NBA, in July 1993 the NBA interviewed Esquinas in its New York offices. During that interview, Esquinas told the investigators that in March of 1992, he had overheard a telephone conversation Jordan was having with an unknown person. During that phone call, Jordan talked about a betting line; saying "So you say the line is seven points." Of what game, it is unknown. But this was a serious accusation. If Jordan was indeed gambling on sports, then he had broken that sacred, unwritten rule for professional athletes.
Then there's a fascinating little theory, supported by some quotes from Jordan himself--that it was the NBA's idea for Jordan to play baseball for a while:
I believe there was more to his minor league career than waving at curve balls. I believe the NBA came to Jordan and laid it out for him. They didn't want to see him go down for gambling, but at the same time, they couldn't seem to control him. So they asked him to "retire" and seek some help. Allow the media investigations (if there even were any) to cool down and soon the public will forget all about it. Go play baseball so you can keep in shape and remain at least somewhat in the spotlight. Then, when the time is right, Jordan would be allowed to return to the NBA as the mighty king he once was.
He made a very interesting comment during his retirement press conference. When asked, "will you miss the sport?" he replied: "I'm pretty sure I'll miss the sport. To come back is a different thought â I can't answer that. I'm not making this a 'never' issue. I'm saying right now I don't have the mental drive to come out and push myself to play with a certain focus. Five years down the line, if the urge comes back, if the Bulls will have me, if David Stern lets me back in the league, I may come back. [emphasis added]" No reporter there bothered to ask him, why wouldn't the Commissioner let you back in, Michael? It's a very interesting choice of words. One that lends itself to a very different interpretation of the situation.