Episode 6 of Michael Jordan's documentary, The Last Dance, revolved around the several infamous stories of Jordan and his gambling adventures. During the early 1990s, multiple reports suggested Jordan was heavily addicted to gambling, which could have potentially jeopardised his NBA career. The sixth episode of the 10-part docuseries revolved mostly around the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals when the Michael Jordan gambling problem featured prominently in the headlines.
Jordan's late-night trip to Atlantic City the night before Game 2 of the series against the New York Knicks was up for much debate after Jordan appeared to be tired during the game and Bulls surrendered a 2-0 lead to the Knicks. One of many Michael Jordan gambling stories, it was reported that Jordan was busy gambling as late as 2:30 AM. Jordan refuted claims that his trip to Atlantic City had any effect on his performance on the court. Michael Jordan came back strong in Game 3 as Bulls registered a win and Jordan dropped 54 points in a 103-83 win.
Addressing the infamous story in the documentary, Michael Jordan said, "We got a limo, we went and gambled for a couple of hours, and we came back. Everybody went totally ballistic. It wasn’t late. We got home by 12:30,1 o’clock.”
Apart from the trip to Atlantic City, an incident from 1991 was featured among the various Michael Jordan gambling stories where Jordan appeared to enjoy multiple gambling sessions with James Bouler, a golf hustler and a notorious dealer of narcotics. In the early 1990s, Bouler made headlines as he claimed Michael Jordan owed him up to $1 million in gambling debt. When Bouler was arrested on drug and money laundering charges, the officials reportedly found a $57,000 check addressed to him from Jordan. While Jordan initially stated it was a loan to Bouler, he later admitted that the amount was indeed a gambling debt.
The 'Michael Jordan gambling debt' story spread like wildfire and led to several serious accusations that the Bulls legend used to bet on NBA games during that time. A businessman from San Diego, Richard Esquinas released a book titled 'Michael and Me', which claimed Jordan owed him more than $1.2 million in gambling debt from their golf betting. Famed Chicago Tribune writer Sam Smith's book, The Jordan Rules also discussed Jordan's struggles with gambling. However, Michael Jordan refuted any such claims as he said, "I only bet on myself. That was golf. Do I like to play blackjack? Yeah, I like to play blackjack. There are no laws on that.”
Michael Jordan further defended himself stating he did not have any problems with gambling as the media suggested. He claimed he could stop gambling anytime he wanted and that he simply enjoyed it as a hobby. “If I had a problem, I’d be starving. I’d be hawking this watch, my championship rings, I would sell my house. My wife would have left me, or she’d be starving. I do not have a problem, I enjoy gambling," he said in an interview.