was more about, “I’m going to raise you how I think you should be and once you become an adult you decide what you want to do.” We were all raised in Chicago, our family would come over every weekend, and my mom made us understand where we came from, and that this life was a blessing and not to take it for granted. Now that we’re all older we’re doing us. [My brother] Jeffrey is another homebody who lives in Portland; [and our other brother] Marcus is more open to that public personality and doesn’t mind showing up to a party or doing an interview. And myself, well, I’m a combination of the both of them.
What was it like being the only girl in the Jordan family?
Now my dad is remarried and I have little twin sisters. But between Jeffrey, Marcus, and myself it was different. My brothers played basketball, which pretty much threw them right into the spotlight and everything that comes with our family. It was a lot less pressure being the only girl in the Jordan family at that time, but it also gave me free range to do whatever I wanted, and be whatever I wanted. I had a blank slate to do and try whatever—and that’s what I did. I danced, played volleyball, and even flag football. I tried basketball very briefly, but both my dad and I knew that it was not for me. But during that time I was able to take away who my father was to everyone else, and that for sure brought us closer; to this day I still identify as daddy’s girl.
What was school like for you?
For the most part, school was easy. My first two years of high school I went to a private Jesuit Catholic Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. For my junior and senior year, I transferred to public school: Two totally different experiences. Public school was way more my speed, because I got to witness different walks of life, learning from and meeting individuals who lived on the West and South sides of Chicago. I wouldn’t have experienced that at private school. I benefited tremendously from public school, as I was able to understand that the average person does not live like me. It was mind-blowing at times to hear my classmates’ stories about their upbringings. We would compare and contrast how I lived and how they lived and, oddly enough, it really proved that we weren’t really that different, except my dad was doing what he did, and their parents were doing something different.
What was the reception like at public school? Did you have to fight to be known as an individual?
Initially, it was a little tough, because there was no hiding that I was Michael Jordan’s daughter. Everyone just stared, whispered, and had side conversations about me. There was a lot of trying to figure out why was I there. I also had a hard time right before college. I tweeted that I was going to Syracuse University, and at that time I didn’t have that many followers so I didn’t think much of it. A local media outlet picked up my tweet and ran it as if it were an interview, and I was pissed! I was extremely upset, because it was like—first off, I didn’t do an interview, and secondly, you just took my tweet and spun a story I had no say in. It was frustrating, because once I arrived on campus I had to deal with stares from everyone. I was being judged and talked about before I even had a chance to ask a question in class. But the university and my professors reassured me that they weren’t going to treat me differently.
You studied sports management in school. How are you using that degree?
I went right into that field upon graduating. For about four seasons I worked for the Charlotte Hornets as a basketball operations coordinator. I now work full-time for Nike and Jordan Brand as a field representative in sports marketing.
I am still connected to the Hornets even with my role at Nike and Jordan brand, as I represent some of the Hornet Jordan players such as Kemba Walker, Nic Batum, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, and Dwayne Bacon. As long as I’m connected to basketball, athletes, and athletics in some kind of way, I’ll be happy.
Your brother Marcus owns Trophy Room, a shoe store at Disney World that pays homage to your father. Tell us about your work with the family name or legacy.
So our Jordan women’s Heiress collection launched back in January and I’ve been a part of that whole process from designing, picking colorways, and pushing more feminine products. I, too, like my brother Marcus, want to make sure that our father’s legacy continues, and working with the brand from the ground up is preparing us for the day he decides he wants to step aside.
What does your day-to-day look like?
Let me just say whoever said working from home was easy lied! In Charlotte [working with the Hornets] I work from home, and in Oregon I have an office [at Nike]. My days consist of phone calls and emails. Making sure the players I represent have their sneakers, apparel, everything they need throughout the season, and now that we’re in the offseason they have appearances, photo shoots, media coverage, so on and so forth, which is all handled by me. So I’m constantly glued to my phone, laptop, and somebody’s Wi-Fi.
Rakeem and I met at Syracuse in college. He was my first friend on campus and we became best friends while we were there. It wasn’t until after we graduated, and after he went through the NBA draft, that he realized that he had feelings for me—and at first I was like, that’s kind of weird [laughs]; we’re such close friends! But here we are three-and-a-half years later, engaged.
What was the father-boyfriend introduction like?
Honestly, I was more nervous than Rakeem. I don’t introduce many people to my father, so once Rakeem actually met him, it was a bit hysterical, because they were both nervous, and just awkwardly sitting there not knowing what to ask, which made me step in and break the ice. Nowadays they’re almost like best friends and it’s kind of gross, but I’m happy that it was smooth sailing, and it’s been great ever since.
He met my mother well before we even started dating, back when she would come visit me at Syracuse, and they’re just as close as him and my father, and probably text every week.
Alright let’s get to the question on everyone’s mind: How many pairs of Jordans do you own?
It’s safe to assume somewhere around 500 sneakers. As I mentioned before I have sneakers everywhere, and the collection keep on growing.
Are you only allowed to wear Jordans; is your father strict about that?
I honestly don’t think he’d really care. But honestly, it’s like, we’re the best so why would I wear anything else? Jordan is top-notch, and I say that humbly. If I am wearing any other sneakers it’s from brands like Balenciaga, Gucci and others like that. You won’t catch me in any competing brands. But I will wear Nike and Converse since we’re all in a partnership.
And can we talk about your ownership of unreleased sneakers?
Umm, I have a lot! And definitely now that we’ve launched women’s I would say about 150.
Do your friends bombard you with sneaker requests?
You know, my friends never ask me, to be honest. It’s almost like it never crosses their minds. Yes, they wear Jordans, and they share how hard it was to get them, but very rarely do they actually ask me. If they were to ask, I would totally be fine with it, so when they are having trouble getting their sneakers, and I know it’s going to be hard for them, I will definitely get them a pair.
MORE ON MICHAEL JORDAN
Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player. He played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. His biography on the official NBA website states: “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently the principal owner and chairman of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan played three seasons for coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina. As a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels’ national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick. He quickly emerged as a league star and entertained crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in slam dunk contests, earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness. He also gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a “three-peat“. Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season and started a new career playing minor leaguebaseball, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Wizards.
Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Awards, ten scoring titles (both all-time records), five MVP Awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star Game appearances, three All-Star Game MVP Awards, three steals titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA records for highest career regular season scoring average (30.12 points per game) and highest career playoff scoring average (33.45 points per game). In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century byESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press‘s list of athletes of the century. Jordan is a two-time inductee into the Basketball Hall of Fame, having been enshrined in 2009 for his individual career, and again in 2010 as part of the group induction of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”). He became a member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015.
Jordan is also known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred as himself in the 1996 film Space Jam. In 2006, he became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats; he bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2014, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history. He is the third-richest African-American, behind Robert F. Smith and Oprah Winfrey.