Father-son bonds can be the best relationship you could ever ask for. Michael Jordan had such a relationship with his dad, James Jordan. He was the man who helped keep him grounded while he flew into superstardom in the NBA. Michael even admitted that his father was his own best friend throughout his entire life. However, something devastating happened one night and Michael was so torn up he even walked away from the game he loved at his peak.
What happened to Michael Jordan’s dad? Michael Jordan’s dad, James Jordan, was murdered on 23rd July 1993. His body was found 11 days later in a South Carolina swamp, shocking the world when the news broke. Daniel Green and his co-defendant, Larry Demery were convicted of the murder after a high profile trial in 1996. James Jordan was shot and killed in his red Lexus while napping during a drive on US Highway 74, in an apparent robbery gone wrong.
The suspects that had apparently murdered him did end up getting punished for their actions. However, new breakthroughs seem to pop up pretty consistently, with the Last Dance documentary highlighting the passing of Michael’s father, bringing awareness for more people to look into the incident.
What happened the night James Jordan was killed?
From the stories that were gathered that night, James Jordan was making a trip to catch up with his son and the rest of his family. On the drive, he grew weary and didn’t want to get himself into an accident on the way there. He pulled over in a South Carolina parking lot and that was when two men approached the vehicle. There doesn’t seem to be a lead for their intentions in walking up to James Jordan’s car, as James was simply trying to get some sleep before hitting the road again. Nobody knows who pulled the trigger either, but the heavy expectation is that it was a simple robbery that went horribly wrong. James was killed by a single .38 caliber bullet to the heart in his own car. That was when his body was moved into the swamp, he was found 11 days after the gunshot went off. When officers located his car, everything was stolen from the inside of the vehicle and the rest of it had been stripped down for parts, presumably by the people who killed him.
What happened to James Jordan’s killers?
Two men were tried and convicted of James Jordan’s murder in 1996, Larry Demery and Daniel Green. They were each arrested and were known to be best friends. However, Larry instantly turned-on Daniel during the interviews and evidence pointed to them both being guilty in this specific case. Daniel, on the other hand, remained loyal to Larry the entire way and didn’t even bat an eye at some of the questions. Daniel even had an alibi for that night but it didn’t matter, everything pointed to each of these two men being killers of James Jordan. They have been in prison for over 30 years. Larry was recently granted parole. He is expected to be released from prison in August of 2023. Daniel was granted parole but will be released in October of 2022.
How Did Michael Jordan Handle It?
As you could probably expect from somebody that just lost his father and best friend, Michael didn’t handle the death of his father very easily. He was broken inside for a long time. After his father’s death, he even stopped playing basketball to clear his head. He retired from basketball in order to get into professional baseball. James loved baseball with all his heart and Michael wanted to make his father proud. His father always talked about how he would have loved to see Michael play ball in the MLB, which is something that sparked the entire idea. He played for a good bit of time but never really stuck around anywhere, as it was clear his major profession was basketball. Shortly after that stint in the pros, Jordan decided to return to the NBA.
What Happened When He Returned?
Jordan answered a lot of these questions during his documentary that came out. He couldn’t pull himself away from the sport that he loved for his whole life. He wanted to continue making his family proud and came back to play basketball for his father again. A few years later, the Chicago Bulls won the NBA Championship on Father’s Day. Michael said that it was the hardest day for him to ever play basketball and that he had so many other things on his heart throughout the game. In his spare time, Michael also decided to create the James R. Jordan Boys & Girls Club and Family Life Center to honor the memory of his father. Michael never opted to come and speak to the public about his thoughts on the shooting, and how he felt. Instead, he wanted to mourn privately with his family and try to honor him in every way that he was able to. Losing a loved one is never an easy thing to handle, and Michael tried to take every positive he could out of a horrible situation. He even said at one point that he was crushed by his father, who was no longer able to show up to any of his games anymore, but at the same time he felt blessed that his father was able to come to his last game before retiring for the first time. As we all know, when he returned and started to go through the days without his father in the NBA, Michael helped the Bulls win three more NBA Championships including one on Father’s Day that was mentioned earlier. I think it’s safe to say that Michael always tried to put his best foot forward to make his family and his father proud.