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"I’m gonna live to regret this" - Jerry Reinsdorf disrespected Michael Jordan over $30 million deal extension

The Bulls owner was even ready to sue Jordan and the Knicks.
Toni Kukoc speaks alongside presenters Michael Jordan and Jerry Reinsdorf during the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement

Jerry Reinsdorf, Michael Jordan

For those who didn’t know, Michael Jordan’s $33 million contract with the Chicago Bulls in the 1997-98 season was the highest salary of an NBA player at the time. Needless to say, it was only proper for that to happen, as MJ is arguably the greatest player of all time. However, that wasn’t how the Bulls organization saw it.

For some reason, Jerry thought MJ’s not worth $30 million

In 1996, Jordan led the Bulls back to their championship ways and won his fourth NBA title. According to Roland Lazenby, the author of Michael Jordan: The Life, after the celebration, MJ and the Bulls had to talk things over about his contract that was expiring that summer.

If we were to ask any NBA fan at the time, it was a no-brainer that Chicago should extend Jordan’s contract regardless of the amount. But Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf was not sure about handing “His Airness” a $30 million contract extension offer.

With Jordan’s contract extension becoming complicated, the New York Knicks were waiting to make a move. Reinsdorf, on the other hand, was ready to sue MJ and the Knicks under some grounds he could find in the GOAT’s current deal with the Bulls. 

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In the end, Reinsdorf figured things would be more complicated if Jordan wouldn’t get that massive extension deal, so he green-lighted the $30 million offer. But as it turned out, Reinsdorf ensured he let MJ know how he felt about it.

“Michael is bitter at Jerry,” a Bulls employee later explained, “because when Jerry agreed to pay him the $30 million, Jerry told Michael that he would regret it. Michael stood in the training room one day the next fall and told all his teammates, ‘You know what really pissed me off? Jerry said, ‘You know what, Michael? I’m gonna live to regret this,'” Lazenby wrote:

The Bulls got more than what they paid for

Knowing what Jordan could do on the court, it was no surprise that the $30 million contract extension was a good investment. If anything, the Bulls even got more than what they paid for from MJ.

As we can all remember after that 1996 contract extension Jordan went on to win another NBA championship with Chicago the very next season. Then in the summer of 1997, MJ inked another hefty one-year deal worth $33 million and gave the Bulls another title to pull off the franchise’s historic second three-peat.

Now, if that wasn’t worth the money spent on a player, then we don’t know what is.

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