Michael Jordan’s 20-page love letter sells for 25K at auction
A 1989 love letter penned by the Chicago Bulls' star was sold at auction recently for ten times its original value
In the midst of all the uncertainty, confusion and anger of the recent news cycle, love still prevails. Michael Jordan, whose ESPN doc The Last Dance set record ratings at ESPN last month, is already known as the basketball G.O.A.T.
But now, a decades-old love letter establishes him as a pretty strong romantic as well.
Surprisingly, the handwritten 20-page letter is not one to his ex-wife, Juanita. It’s to actress Amy Hunter, best known for hosting Soul Train and then marrying founder Don Cornelius’ son, Tony.
In 1989, Hunter was the object of Jordan’s attention, though he’d recently fathered a son with Juanita Vanoy, who he’d go on to be married to for 17 years. At the time he wrote the letter, Jordan, 26, was in his fifth NBA season and on his way to superstardom as both a basketball player and a pop culture figure.
But Hunter an actress, model, and TV host, was in a passionate relationship with the Bulls’ scoring whiz, as evidenced by him pouring his heart out in the letter. In it, he laments that he can’t continue their relationship despite the fact that he loves her.
Jordan and Vanoy had just had their oldest son Jeffrey, in November of 1988 and he references her and their son in the letter. Vanoy and Jordan had already established paternity by then.
The two got married in September of 1989 in Las Vegas. According to The Insider, Hunter’s letter was likely penned while Jordan was on the road playing the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals in Michigan in May of 1989, given the hotel letterhead it was written on. It was postmarked that July as though Jordan took some time to decide whether or not to send it.
Hunter was then 23 and living in New York. She sold the letter 17 years ago, according to the Insider. It was sold again for $2560 in 2014.
The success of The Last Dance may have made someone curious about Jordan’s early years, enough that they wanted to own something so personal to him. (Or, as the buyer is not disclosed, perhaps Jordan himself wanted it off the market.)
In the letter, Jordan acknowledges receiving a letter from Hunter and laments his romantic choices. He says that he’d met her in a transitional time, referring to his ascension from NBA rookie phenom to the face of the league.
Amy when I met you I was in a transitional period in my life. I didn‘t want to settle down but I didn’t want to be alone. So I was looking for someone to keep me company. But no added pressure on me. But now looking back I couldn’t have that and be happy.
Amy I have learned that being in that situation you must be able to deal with a lot of opportunities. Opportunities in reference to women, opportunities in reference to business, opportunities in reference to status and everything that comes along with it. So you see I had everything a young man could ever dream about. Some people would say I was in heaven, but you know what I have learned from being in a situation that everybody would love to be in as a part of. You learn how to be selfish and hurt others. You become this way without even knowing it.
He talks about being torn between Hunter and Vanoy, likening them to ‘toys’ that he was playing with and then telling Hunter that he’d realized he’d picked the wrong one.
“Amy, if I was Michael Jordan, the ordinary man with a 9 to 5 job, then it wouldn’t be hard to admit my mistake,” Jordan wrote in the penciled letter. “But instead, I am the Michael Jordan who is put on the pedestal and viewed to be the perfect role model. A lot of people, not just kids, but whole families. Can you imagine the responsibilities I have to deal with.”
While he says he considered “practicing polygamy” to be with both women, he’d realized that neither the women, nor his reputation, would likely survive it.
Jordan ends the letter by saying, “Amy, I will always love you until the day I die!”
While it doesn’t give much more insight into Jordan the ballplayer, the doc certainly covers that. It is interesting the insight that it gives into a young man coming to terms with fame and temptation. Jordan is known to be a driven competitor but he’s also known for being emotional, as we saw most recently in his moving tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.
So if nothing else, it provides a fuller picture of the NBA G.O.A.T. at a significant time in his life.
Hunter, on her part, divorced Cornelius and is single, as far as we know. Jordan married his second wife, Cuban-American model Yvette Prieto in 2013. The two have 6-year-old twin girls.
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