Michael Jordan Still Flying High

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


Although it may be hard to believe now, Michael Jordan was an unlikely champion. He didn't make the varsity team in high school until his junior year. Jordan says no one in his family ever expected him to amount to much, and that is what fueled his will to win.

In his book, Jordan wrote that that attitude and his competitive drive came from being in a family where he felt he had to prove to his parents that he could succeed because, of all the kids in the family, he was the least likely to succeed.

"I felt that. I wasn't really a work conscious type of person. I was a player. I loved to play sports. And in their wildest dreams, they never thought that I would be a professional athlete," says Jordan. And he also didn't think he would go pro.

That all changed in 1982 when Jordan was a skinny freshman at the University of North Carolina. He made the shot that won the NCAA title in the final seconds of the game.

"That put Michael Jordan on the map. As my mother or my father would say, that changed Mike Jordan to Michael Jordan," says Jordan.

Michael Jordan became more than a name. He became a name brand whose face has sold everything from soft drinks to sneakers, from fast food to underwear. Endorsements earn him an estimated $35 million a year, even though he is no longer playing basketball.

Over the years, he has written four books, including Driven from Within, which came out last fall. The book is published by Simon and Schuster, a sister company of CBS.

Jordan also oversees the Jordan brand, a subsidiary of Nike with revenues of $500 million a year. It includes accessories, a full line of clothing, and, of course, sneakers. Jordan has final approval on everything and when he meets with his design team, there's no detail too small for him.

Jordan says he doesn't just offer up his name to companies. "Oh no, no. … I like control. I like control with my involvement."

He runs his corporate empire from high atop Chicago, the city that made him famous.

Bradley asks if Jordan ever imagined when he started playing basketball that one day he would be running a half-billion dollar company.

"No, I never really thought about it. All I thought about was doing what I was good at and letting that open up a lot of opportunities for me and choosing from that point on," Jordan says.

Jordan spends just two days a week in the office and travels occasionally to charity events and meetings with his team at Nike in Oregon. But a large chunk of his time is spent on the golf course, which has replaced the basketball court as his proving ground.

He has worked his handicap down to a four, and says he is addicted to the sport, often playing from sunrise to sunset, fifty four holes a day.

"For a competitive junkie like me, golf is a great solution because it smacks you in the face every time you think you have accomplished something. That to me has taken over a lot of the energy and competitiveness for basketball," says Jordan.