Michael Jordan Still Flying High

Michael Jordan Talks To <b>Ed Bradley</b> About Gambling, Basketball, Business And Privacy

This story originally aired on Oct. 23, 2005.

Michael Jordan is one of the most recognized names in the world, and among the most dominant and gifted athletes ever to play professional sports.

But how does a man who has been called the most competitive person alive still compete when there are no more games to play, no more championships to win? It's a question Jordan tries to answer in his new book, Driven from Within, which came out last October.

In his first major television interview since he left the spotlight more than three years ago, he talks candidly — and sometimes painfully — with correspondent Ed Bradley about the game he loves, the business empire he has built, the murder of his father, his problems with gambling, and his hopes for a quieter, more private life.

"I've heard you say that now that you're retired, you're trying to take your life back. Who are you trying to take your life back from?" Bradley asks.

"From the public, you know. For years, you find yourself doing things for them, trying to appease them. When you're out in the public they come up and they want to meet and greet, say hello, sign autographs. But I want them to understand this is my time. This is not your time. This is my time now," Jordan says.

For almost two decades, Michael Jordan belonged to his fans, millions of them, who watched from the sidelines as he led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships. He became the ultimate sports icon, one of the best known athletes in the world, who literally defied gravity.

At times, it appeared as if Michael Jordan could fly on the court. "Well, I mean we all fly. Once you leave the ground, you fly. Some people fly longer than others," Jordan says.

Today, Jordan is still flying but at lower altitudes. 60 Minutes caught up with him last year in Las Vegas at the annual Michael Jordan Senior Flight School. It's a four-day training camp, where middle-aged guys who love the game pay $15,000 to get the full Michael Jordan experience: to play ball with him, to get fouled by him and to get abused by him.

"What does he say to you on the court?" Bradley asks one participant. "It's like playing against my son. You're a midget," the participant replied. "'Mouse in the house,' anything to try to humiliate you."

With competition like this — against guys who play mostly on the weekends — it's surprising that Jordan even broke a sweat, but he did, playing with intensity, pulling on shorts and talking trash.

He also teaches the group what he did so well in the NBA — bending the rules without getting caught by the referee.

The guys have the opportunity to pick Michael Jordan's brain not only about basketball but also about life.

"Michael, I have a 9-year-old who has a passion for the game. The thing that gets in his way more than anything is the emotion of failure and losing," one participant says.

"As a parent, you have to simplify it as much as possible to show them that, either way, I still love you if you miss that shot. It's tougher for me than you. Because my oldest thinks he should be the next Michael Jordan. Just by birthright. And to try to talk him out of it, my wife and I are driving ourselves nuts to say, 'Hey kid, just have a good time.' There's only one Michael Jordan," Jordan says.