1. Everybody knows gambling has been a big part of Michael Jordan’s life. We’ve all heard outrageous stories—confirmed and unconfirmed—about Jordan’s habit.
But former NBA star Antoine Walker dropped a previously unheard-of doozy this week during an appearance on the All Things Covered podcast.
According to Walker, he once played a game of Spades with Jordan and two other guys for 36 straight hours. The buy-in was $20,000. Bets were as high as $50,000. And at one point Jordan and Walker, who were playing as a team, were down $900,000.
The story gets better.
This card game took place right at the time Jordan was returning to the Bulls in 1995 after leaving to play baseball. According to Walker, Jordan canceled his scheduled press conference for that day to announce his return to the NBA because he was too consumed with the marathon game of Spades.
Walker also revealed this was a cash game. He said he had $100,000 in cash on him and Jordan had $200,000, and then M.J. sent out for another $500,000—IN CASH.
2. LeBron James said the reason Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were chosen last in the NBA All-Star Game draft was because nobody ever picks the Jazz when they play video games.
3. This was an excellent return by Baker Mayfield.
4. If you missed Part 1 of TNT's docuseries The Inside Story, which aired Thursday night, seek it out just to watch Ernie Johnson talk about his battle with cancer and what the support from his colleagues and people around the NBA meant to him. Very moving and powerful stuff.
5. In honor of Coming 2 America's release on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, I have one of these barbershop kits to give away. The kits include the following: a manicure set, The Black Pack Co. deck of cards, Maktub candles, all black Bevel trimmer, Amazon Music gift card, SoulGlo Bronner Bros natural curl hydrator, cocktail shakers, afro pick and Twist It Up comb.
The first person to email me (Jimmy.Traina@si.com) the correct answers to these questions wins the kit. You must email me the answer. Do not tweet or send on Instagram.
- During the recent SI Media Podcast with Bryan Curtis, I mentioned one broadcaster who makes me sometimes watch a game I'm not interested in. Who?
- During this week's SI Media Podcast with Mike Florio, I revealed the topic for the most-read edition of Traina Thoughts in February. What was it?
6. The guest on the latest episode of the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast is Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. Florio explains why gambling is a major factor in the NFL going to a 17-game regular season and why he expects the league to eventually go to an 18-game regular season. Does the 17th regular-season game mean we're going to finally get a Super Bowl during President's Day weekend? Florio shares his thoughts on that topic and talks about other scheduling changes we could see. Other topics discussed on this episode include the TV rights deals the NFL is about to close with its broadcast partners, why the league was able to get such a huge rights fee increase and what's going on with Sunday Ticket. We also talk about how the offseason has become bigger than the regular season when it comes to people's interest in the league, clickbait stories and much more.
You can also watch the podcast on YouTube.
7. RANDOM OF THE DAY: I love all things Sacha Baron Cohen. At first, I thought this bit from Thursday night's Jimmy Kimmel Live wasn't working at all, but it kept getting better as it went on.
Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram