Michael Jordan’s immense fame came with one massive drawback. As Jordan discussed during “The Last Dance,” it became impossible for him to go out in public without being mobbed by hundreds of fans. This wasn’t necessarily an issue when Jordan was on the clock, as a group of bodyguards made sure Jordan was able to navigate through those crowds. But what about when Jordan was on his own?
How was Jordan able to perform everyday, mundane tasks like going to the bank or picking up lunch? Thanks to one of Jordan’s former teammates, we have an idea of how Jordan was able to get those things done.
In order to go grocery shopping, Jordan reportedly had a special arrangement with a local grocery chain, according to Jerry Bembry of The Undefeated.
Brad Sellers, one of Jordan’s former teammates, relayed the story to Bembry.
“You saw MJ doing laundry in the first few episodes and that was him back then, the country side of him, just living like a regular dude,” Sellers said. “But he just got bigger and bigger in basketball and to a point where he couldn’t go out. I remember saying to him one day, ‘Hey, M, how do you eat?’ …
“He told me he would call Jewel-Osco [a grocery chain] about 15 minutes before they closed, and let them know he was coming in,” Sellers said. “They would stay open later to let him shop.”
In exchange for Jewel-Osco staying open late, Jordan would reportedly tip workers well, according to Sellers.
While that story isn’t confirmed, it’s not hard to envision things going down as Sellers described. If Michael Jordan called your grocery chain in the mid-90s and asked if he could drop by after hours, you would probably accommodate his needs. And if he tipped well once he was done, you would definitely keep doing it.
Sellers and Scott Burrell — who Jordan called Dennis Rodman Jr. during “The Last Dance” — both said Jordan would receive police escorts in Chicago to ensure he reached his destination on time. Sellers and Burrell took advantage of that perk, with Sellers saying he would go out of his way to drive near Jordan’s house so Sellers wouldn’t have to wait in traffic.
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