Michael Jordan’s father James Jordan Sr. was tragically murdered on July 23, 1993. Michael’s father’s death came just days after winning his third NBA championship as the Bulls topped the Suns in the finals.
James Sr. was sleeping at a rest stop in North Carolina when he was shot to death, per TMZ. His body was found 11 days after the murder in the water in South Carolina where he had been dumped off a bridge. The Chicago Tribune reported that James Sr. spent the day at a funeral for a former co-worker and visited with friends later in the evening. Larry Demery and Daniel Green were later charged with committing the murder.
Decades later, it is still unclear why the men brutally murdered James Sr. WECT 6 News reported that Demery is being considered for parole after his initial sentence of life in prison.
Jordan Retired From the NBA After His Father’s Death
Michael would retire from the NBA a short time later in 1993. The Bulls star conducted an interview with Oprah after heading into retirement. Michael noted at the time that he did not want to know about Demery and Green’s motives.
“No, because I don’t want to know,” Michael noted, per Chicago Tribune. “Because it probably would hurt me even more just to know their reasons. Because if it is, it’s going to be totally meaningless for the reasons. It’s better that I don’t know.”
At the time of his initial retirement, Michael believed his father had seen the last NBA game he would play.
“The most positive thing I can take from my father not being here with me today is that he saw my last basketball game. And that means a lot,” Jordan said at the time of his 1993 retirement according to the Chicago Tribune.
Michael keeps the memory of his father close decades later. The NBA legend’s Instagram page is mostly full of photos of new Jordan shoes launching. During a rare personal moment, Michael posted a photo of his father standing next to him after winning one of his six championships.
“My Dad was always one of My Biggest inspirations ! Love you pops #jordan #michaeljordan,” Michael wrote in the caption.
The Men Did Not Know James Sr. Was Michael Jordan’s Father
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported that Demery and Green had no idea that the man was Michael’s father until after the murder was committed. The two 18-year-olds had planned to rob someone and selected James Sr. as the victim. They discovered his identity after finding an NBA championship ring that Michael had given his dad.
“They couldn’t believe it happened,” the sheriff said, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
James Sr. Is Survived by His Wife Deloris & 5 Children
The Jordan family has preferred not to discuss James Sr.’s death publicly. James Sr. is survived by Michael’s mother, Deloris Jordan, along with their five children: Michael, Larry, Roslyn, Deloris and James Jr. (also known as Ronnie). Michael’s mom runs the James R. Jordan Foundation in his honor as a way to carry on his legacy and give back to underprivileged youth.
Deloris founded the foundation in 2000 after years of helping Michael with his own charitable organization. The James R. Foundation International was founded in 2009 with a number of partners including United States International University and Kenya’s Ministry of Health and Education.