The untold truth of Michael Jordan's kids

Hardcore sports fans tend to know plenty of facts about their favorite athletes, however, there happens to be a fair share of untold truths about Michael Jordan that would surely surprise you. For instance, on top of having an ex-wife who walked away from their divorce with a fortune, as well as a second wife who is significantly younger than him, Jordan has five children.

The former NBA player had three kids with Juanita Jordan, who he was married to from 1989 to 2007 when their divorce settlement was signed, per People. Jeffrey Jordan is their eldest child, while they also have a second son named Marcus Jordan, and a daughter, Jasmine Jordan. His Airness also had twin girls, Victoria and Ysabel, with his second wife, Yvette Prieto, per E! News

While we may not see Jordan with his children all too often, he's obviously a caring parent. When the star opened up about his eldest during an interview on Today in 2007, he explained, "I want him to enjoy his life, whatever he chooses to be that, you know? If you play basketball, you're a doctor, you're a lawyer, whatever, I'm gonna support you with the love and every effort, every inch of my body."

Granted, the children surely appreciate that support since they have lived the kind of lives that could likely only happen if your parent is a super-rich sports-world legend.

Michael Jordan initially denied paternity of his son

Michael Jordan became a father when his first son, Jeffrey Jordan, was born in November 1988. However, when the athlete initially found out about the child, he wasn't exactly eager to accept his position as a parent. In fact, the baby's mother (and the woman who eventually became Jordan's wife of 17 years and the mom of two of his other children), Juanita Vanoy, had to get lawyers involved before the star would acknowledge his responsibilities.

Juanita hired attorney Michael Minton in July of that same year, and in 2002, Minton told The Washington Post about their first meeting, saying, "She told me she was pregnant, unwed, and that the father of the child was Michael Jordan. She felt she could not get Michael's attention or cooperation or response without the retention of a legal representative."

Although the pair was already engaged, "things had stalled." However, Juanita was determined to get the father of her child involved. "Juanita felt this was something she needed to do," Minton said. "He was obviously not being responsive to her needs or the needs of the unborn child. It's not something that if you ignore it, it will go away."

That's what Michael found out when he faced a potential (and very public) paternity suit, which apparently prompted him to acknowledge that the baby was his. Although Michael got his own team of lawyers involved, Minton claimed he "admitted paternity within a few months."

Jeffrey, Marcus, and Jasmine Jordan were shown 'what the real world was about'

Thanks to his stellar (and lucrative) NBA career, as well as money-making endorsement contracts and business deals (including his still-profitable partnership with Nike), Michael Jordan was able to provide his family with more than just a financially stable lifestyle, providing them with everything they could possibly want or need. However, Juanita Jordan, the mother of Jordan's three oldest children, wanted to make sure that they were exposed to a different side of life.

"She was a hardworking and ambitious woman before she met him, raised as the fifth of six girls on Chicago's tough South Side," according to The Washington Post, "and her friends say she has never forgotten where she came from."

That's why when Juanita sat down with Crain's Chicago Business in 2013, she explained, "Living in suburbs was a life that they got to enjoy because of their wealth, however, it was important to me that they also experienced how I grew up." Because of that, she says she would take them to her old neighborhood so that her sons and daughter could see "how their cousins lived, ... they saw how people on the Southside of Chicago, who didn't have as much as they did. The saw ... what the real world was about." It also gave her an opportunity to "instill in them that they needed to give back," which is surely something those on the receiving end of their benevolence appreciate.

Can Michael Jordan's children ever escape his shadow?

While you might think that the offspring of a basketball legend would live a charmed life, they also have to deal with living in their father's shadow. Making your own way in the world isn't easy when you have a successful parent and that's certainly been the case for Michael Jordan's sons. The star's eldest child, Jeffrey Jordan, followed his dad into basketball, playing with the University of Illinois, and in 2007, the NBA icon told Today, "I want him to be his own person, you know?"

However, Michael has also acknowledged that the task isn't easy. "You guys have a heavy burden. I wouldn't want to be you guys if I had to," he told his three older children during his Hall of Fame induction speech back in 2009, according to ESPN – and he certainly had a point. As the outlet further explained, when it comes to Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan, they "have no chance of eclipsing their dad," meaning that it's apparently "their destiny to remain his satellites" while also struggling in their own ways.

That's perhaps why it was important to their mother, Juanita Jordan, to teach them to "not to try to be their dad." She told Crain's Chicago Business in 2013, "They needed to understand that they had to develop their own skills and they needed to work hard and learn how to manage their own challenges on their own."

Michael Jordan's sons have stirred up trouble

While fans may have been eager to see what Michael Jordan's sons, Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan, were capable of doing on the court, the pair have stirred up more headlines due to the fact that they've gotten themselves in trouble with the law on more than one occasion.

The brothers first sparked a scandal in 2010 when they took a trip to Las Vegas. While it was bad enough that they "dropped more than $50,000 they didn't earn in two days," according to ESPN, what was even worse what the fact that their high-rolling action "gain[ed] the attention of the Nevada Gaming Control Board," which was a problem "because Marcus wasn't of age."

Jordan's younger son found himself in trouble again two years later, when he was 21, when he "allegedly had a drunken argument with two women and then made it difficult for the cops who broke it up. He was booked for resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and obstructing." However, despite the trouble, ESPN did note that Marcus "looked surprisingly upbeat in his mug shot." The outlet also rather ruefully suggested, "If nothing else, his father must have given him a share of his swagger." Inheriting swagger is fine and good, but perhaps it would have been better if Marcus and Jeffrey had picked up some law-abiding tendencies instead? 

Marcus Jordan's brand loyalty cost his university big time

Being loyal to your family is usually a good thing, but in Marcus Jordan's case, that dedication to who and where he came from — as well as the brand that helped make his father a rich man — sparked an issue that involved a lot of money.

In what ESPN deemed a "shoe debacle," trouble cropped up "when [Marcus] arrived as [a] recruit at the University of Central Florida," a school that had a deal with Adidas, which is a rival of Nike, the company that Michael Jordan has had a long-standing partnership with. When Marcus got to UCF, he "refused to wear anything but a certain familial model of Nikes" instead of the Adidas gear that he was supposed to wear as a member of the school's basketball team. In turn, Adidas "dropped the school, costing them roughly $3 [million] in sponsorship money — all because of Marcus' choice of footwear," according to Complex.

However, years later, Marcus revealed that before agreeing to attend UCF, he was told that he would "be able to wear Jordans, and it wouldn't be a problem." Apparently, the school had "spoke[n] to their regional [A]didas reps," and Marcus was led to believe that "it wouldn't be an issue." He noted, "They understood, with me being Michael Jordan's son, it would only make sense that I wear Jordans." As it turned out, corporate Adidas "in Germany," as Marcus put it, obviously wasn't cool with.

Jeffrey and Marcus's 'Heir-Jordan' endeavor didn't quite take off

While Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan weren't destined to be professional basketball players in the NBA like their father, Michael Jordan, they were still keen on capitalizing on their family's fame in order to seek success, albeit in a very different way than their point-making parent. The siblings teamed up in 2012 to launch Heir-Jordan.com, which is obviously a play on both their positions as their father's sons as well as a twist on their dad's wildly popular Nike Air Jordan shoes. Apparently, their venture involved "releas[ing] two short vanity videos" which were "professional and expensive-looking," according to ESPN, but failed to stir up much attention. Beyond that, nothing else ever seemed to happen with the project.

By August of that same year, the two sequel videos that the brothers had "promised [hadn't] surfaced, and the site ... contain[ed] nothing more than dead links." Nowadays, the domain has been taken over by someone who wants visitors of the site to know about aging creams, "alternative medicine techniques," and "choosing special baby gifts."

ESPN went on to note, "It's as though [Jeffrey and Marcus] were trying to find their own way but ran out of steam," despite Jeffrey's proclamation in one promo that the now-defunct website "basically represents any person's ambition to leave their own legacy and in some way, one way or another, change the world." However, it's not one that worked out in the end for Michael Jordan's sons.

Jasmine Jordan works on the business side of sports

Michael Jordan and Juanita Jordan's only daughter together is Jasmine Jordan. While her brothers opted to play basketball at the University of Illinois and the University of Central Florida before striking out with business projects, Jasmine studied sports management at Syracuse University, per InStyle. She went on to a prominent position in a family business.

"I am the liaison between Jordan Brand and the athletes that we have signed on Jordan Brand," she explained while talking about her position with Rolling Out in 2019. She continued by noting that she makes sure that the players she's working with "get everything from footwear to apparel to succeed on the court and to be fashionable off the court," while also arranging what's needed to "market each player" during photo-shoots and appearances.

Jasmine opened up about what her father taught her about business, saying, "When my dad played in the NBA, he trusted his gut. That translated to business as well, and he definitely instilled that in me. Because if it doesn't feel right, then it's not right." She also explained that her father said, "You have to stay focused and pursue your dreams," explaining that there are "going to be people and haters that have something to say, and if you allow them into your mindset and into your space, then you're not going to be able to perform." Instead, she's determined to "stay focused," just like her dad taught her.

Marcus Jordan still got his own Trophy Room

Michael Jordan's second son, Marcus, may not be following his father's footsteps when it comes to a career in sports, and the Heir-Jordan.com venture he attempted with his brother, Jeffrey, seemed to fizzle out before it could create a spark, however, that hasn't stopped the younger Jordan from trying to find his way to success. With that likely in mind, in 2016, he launched a retail line called Trophy Room with plans to open a "boutique" for his company. "I have been around Jordan brand apparel my entire life," he told CNBC, adding, "The way the culture is shifting is a great opportunity."

The outlet noted that Marcus was hoping to use the skills he picked up while earning a degree in hospitality management from the University of Central Florida. As for the younger Jordan's "inspiration" for the business? "[H]is own family's trophy room in his childhood home in Chicago." CNBC described that spot as "more than just a museum of their father's numerous accolades, trophies, and memorabilia." Instead, it was also "a gathering place for friends and family to congregate, and learn a few life lessons," a vibe that Marcus seemingly wanted to bring over to his business.

Trophy Room's brick-and-mortar store was still operating as of April 2020, selling clothing, footwear, and accessories from brands like John Elliott, Palm Angels, Mitchell & Ness, as well as Upper Deck Memorabilia, and of course, both Jordan and Nike items.

Jasmine Jordan is a mom

Michael Jordan became a grandfather in May 2019 when his daughter, Jasmine Jordan, welcomed a baby boy into the world. The new mom used Instagram to share the news, posting a photo of the little one's hand holding her finger. "Just In Time • I Love You Son," she wrote, adding the hashtag #1stMothersDay. A "25" tattoo could also be seen on her finger, which was the Syracuse University jersey number of Rakeem Christmas, the father of Jasmine's child, according to Syracuse.com.

Rakeem also marked the occasion on Instagram, sharing an image of the family as Family Guy-like characters, with his son, Rakeem Michael Christmas, or "Keemie" as he's called, wearing a shirt from the university that both parents attended. "I don't know what I did to deserve you and our awesome kid, Happy 1st Mothers Day!" he wrote while adding a heart emoji and tagging Jasmine.

The loving mom later wrote another post dedicated to her child, writing, "Keemie, you're my light on my darkest days and my strength on my weakest days. You've given me purpose. Because of you, I know what unconditional love truly means."

Michael opened up about becoming a grandfather while chatting Today, saying, "It's fun, ... because I can actually hold him and play with him and I'm having fun watching him." Keemie will surely have fun watching his grandfather's old games when the little guy grows up and realizes that his grandpa is an athletic icon.

Michael Jordan had his twin girls when he was 51

Michael Jordan married Yvette Prieto in April 2013, per The Washington Post. By November, the couple announced that Prieto was pregnant, according to E! News. However, what they kept a secret at the time was that they were actually expecting two little ones.

The world found out that Jordan and Prieto had welcomed twin baby girls into the world in February 2014. "Yvette and the babies are doing well," the couple's rep said, according to Today's Parent, "and the family is overjoyed at their arrival."

The little ones, named Victoria and Ysabel, are the first for Prieto, who was 35 when they were born. Jordan was 51 at the time, while the NBA legend's older children were 25, 22, and 21 when their younger half-siblings were born. At least Jeffrey, Marcus, and Jasmine are old enough to take care of the twins if their dad ever needs a babysitter!

While Victoria and Ysabel have been mostly kept out of the spotlight since their birth, they're surely enjoying the same kind of privileged lives that their older brothers and sister had. However, being the children of a sports legend just like the others, they may also face the same pressure that comes along with that role. We'll just have to wait and see how they handle their lives as Jordans.