Skip to main content

Why Michael Jordan stopped going to church — ”It's more or less 'Well, Michael is here today, let's have him speak for us.'”

He may be Black Jesus, but Sunday mass is about Jesus of Nazareth. MJ got it, most people didn't.
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Like many people, the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan, reached a point in his life when he hesitated to attend Church. Jordan, a Christian believer, spent almost every Sunday of his childhood years in Church as his parents, Deloris and James Jordan, made sure to raise him and his siblings as religious, responsible, and hard-working children.

But Jordan's reason for skipping church every Sunday in his hometown's local Church in Wilmington, North Carolina, is a bit different than most people's. 

It became all about Michael Jordan, not Jesus.

In an interview with GQ Magazine in 1989, the 6-time NBA champion opened up about why he was thrown off by the locals attending Church in his hometown. According to Jordan, all the churchgoers wanted to do was stare at him (while prayers were ongoing) and hear him preach about his life outside the Church.

"When I go to church," Michael says, "any church I go to, it doesn't seem like Church to me, because everybody stares. I went back to my own Church in Wilming­ton a few times since I've been in the pros, and it really hasn't been the same old Church. It's more or less 'Well, Michael is here today, let's have him speak for us.," Jordan told GQ's David Breskin.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

In retrospect, this is a highly valid excuse for Jordan to lose interest in attending mass. After all, just from a human's standpoint, he goes to Church to praise God in silence and break bread with his fellow locals.

MJ may be a famous figure not just in America but also worldwide, but of course, there's a right timing for everything. So if Jordan's reason was that he didn't want to take the attention away from God (especially in Church), then it makes sense why he stopped attending.

Jordan's religious family background

As mentioned above, Michael's parents made sure to raise him and his 2 sisters and 2 brothers as god-fearing and religious kids. His mother, Deloris, once admitted that raising 5 kids wasn't easy, but she says she was guided throughout the family's faith in God. The parents obligated all kids to attend Church because it was as important as securing a bachelor's degree for them.

"Church, like education, was one of those nonnegotiable priorities in the Jordan family," Deloris said, according to the Christian Broadcasting Network. "Regular weekly attendance wasn't merely expected of our children; it was required."

So yes, just like most of us, even the greatest basketball player to walk on Earth was obliged to be religious and follow and obey his parent's demands. Although Mike eventually decided to stop going to Church, at the very least, his reason was acceptable — to remove the spotlight off him and let it shine on who deserved it more in the right time and place. 

He may be Black Jesus, but Sunday mass is about Jesus of Nazareth. 

Portland TrailBlazers' legends: Clyde Drexler and Damian Billard

“From that moment, I knew it was possible”- Damian Lillard on passing Clyde Drexler’s Trail Blazers scoring record

Damian Lillard is set to break Clyde Drexler's Portland Trail Blazer scoring record next season.


Serge Ibaka shares an important lesson he learned from Derek Fisher

Ibaka is the type of player who never settles with what is in front of him. He constantly absorbs everything he feels will be beneficial for him. In the process, he became humbler and wiser

New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing

"I got aroused" — When Patrick Ewing testified in a strip club trial

Patrick Ewing admitted visiting the Atlanta strip club 10 times. His first time was in 1996 when he was in town for the Olympic Games

New York Knicks forward Latrell Sprewell

"One of the misconceptions about me is that I have this attitude problem" - Latrell Sprewell opens up about his off-court personality

Latrell Sprewell stressed that his fearless attitude on the court was far from who he was off of it.


Jerry West on how the Memphis Grizzlies almost picked LeBron James

Before Jerry West became general manager, the Memphis Grizzlies made a trade that hurt their chances in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin is not the solution to the Boston Celtics' woes

Blake Griffin is already past his prime and there's little he could do to impact the Boston Celtics' title aspirations next season.

Philadelphia 76ers guard James Harden

James Harden explains why he considers himself  "one of the most unselfish players ever"

James Harden talks about the upcoming NBA season for the Philadelphia 76ers, while also opening up about his mindset and the time he spent playing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving for the Brooklyn Nets

New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul

"I'm a point guard and I'm that good" - Chris Paul's simple reply to a Hornets teammate who was baffled by his skills

Former New Orleans Hornets forward Jason Smith got an epic response from Chris Paul when he asked him how could he read the game while on the floor.