If you are a fan of mobsters and criminal underground in New York, you probably heard the name Michael Franzese before. Franzese was a mobster that arose to fame during the late ’70s and ’80s when he was involved in numerous criminal activities with his associates. He recently made a guest appearance on Mike Tyson’s podcast, Hotboxin where he talked several things from his life, and shared quite a few interesting stories about the athletes he knows, with Michael Jordan being one of them.
Franzese had close relations with numerous athletes who were gambling at his establishments. Throughout the years, he witnessed them get in big problems because they couldn’t control what they were doing. Subsequently, they were losing a lot of money they couldn’t give back at one point. He concluded that athletes, in general, are bad gamblers.
“Athletes are not good gamblers, they are really not. I can’t tell you how many of them got in trouble. You are so competitive, so it raises the stakes.”
Franzese was also involved in providing security services for numerous companies and events, where he got the chance to meet Michael Jordan. Throughout his career, there were rumors about Jordan’s gambling addiction and how it affected his career and personal life. Most of it was probably closely connected to his competitive nature, in which he had to win at everything no matter what he played. Franzese witnessed a specific situation where Jordan played the head of security in a table tennis match for five dollars, which he eventually won.
“I love Jordan, to me, he is still the all-time favorite basketball player, but we were once in a security meeting with the NBA. Michael was playing the head of security in table tennis for five bucks. Of course, Michael wins, he wins at everything. So Horace has his warm-up suit on, and Michael goes where are my five bucks. He said that it’s up in his room, so he goes up and tells him to go out to get it.”
Most people would initially assume that it’s strange Jordan would even ask that guy for the five dollars he won, but for Jordan, it was never about the money. Franzese said everybody was a bit surprised Jordan forced the guy to get him those five dollars, but Jordan said he considered those five dollars as a trophy, a proof he was better.
“Horace looked at him and said, five bucks Michael. He said yeah, this is my trophy, I beat you. He puts it in his pocket and walks away. I said, wow, this is intense.”
Throughout the years, there were numerous stories about Jordan’s competitive nature, and some of them sound pretty unbelievable. No matter if it was basketball, golf, cards, poker, or even in this case table tennis, Jordan had an incredible drive to beat his opponent at any cost. This specific story proves that for Jordan, it was all about getting accomplishment and satisfaction, with five dollars being the example of that.