Millions of Michael Jordan fans are realizing they didn't know the basketball legend as well as they thought. Since ESPN released The Last Dance, a docuseries that offers a deeper look into the athlete's career, quite a few shocking details have come to light, including the fact that he's been hiding at least one tattoo. But why has he never mentioned it? And what other little-known facts has he been keeping quiet about? Here's what we know.
What does Michael Jordan's chest tattoo look like?
Michael's tattoo is of an omega horseshoe, which is located on the left side of his chest. Though he's been careful to keep it covered up for years, a shirtless photo exists of him on the cover of Bob Greene's Rebound: The Odyssey of Michael Jordan. If you look closely above his left breast, you can see a faint tattoo of the Omega symbol.
Why did Michael choose this specific tattoo?
As for the meaning behind the ink, it symbolizes his commitment to the black fraternity Omega Psi Phi, which he joined while he attended the University of North Carolina. Founded in 1911, it was actually the first African-American fraternity to be founded at a historically black university.
As a proud member of Omega Psi Phi, the 57-year-old has been spotted publicly throwing up "hooks," which is the fraternity's signature gesture. Other notable members who have pledged and been seen throwing up hooks include pro-ballers Vince Carter and Shaquille O'Neal.
Though Michael had this tattoo since college, most people didn't know about it.
He didn't strike fans as the type to get a tattoo. In fact, even outlets assumed that he didn't have any because he never mentioned it or kept it on full display. But in August of 2019, the NBA published an article and included this little-known fact about him.
Sam Smith wrote: "Little known is he has a tattoo, an omega horseshoe above his left breast that he always was a bit sensitive about."
Perhaps that explains why he's always kept it on the down low. But even then, a lot of fans weren't aware of his secret tattoo until it was mentioned in The Last Dance.
Fans were just as surprised to learn that Michael Jordan loved smoking cigars.
Though Michael's love for cigars came up in the miniseries, he also discussed it in detail during a 2005 interview with Cigar Aficionado. The basketball legend opened up about how he went from trying his first cigar to smoking them before all of his games.
He said: "I smoked my first cigar in 1991, when we won the championship. Up to that point, I had never smoked a cigar, never smoked anything. We won the championship, and Jerry Reinsdorf gave me one of his cigars... The next time I received a cigar was from my good friend, Ahmad Rashad... I wouldn't smoke them, but I would sit there and chew on them. I got to the point where it became very relaxing."
He then explained that smoking the cigars became an easy way to calm his nerves before he got on the court.
He said: "We had to be to the stadium at 6 o'clock for home games, and traffic was so bad it would take us an hour and 15 or an hour and 30 minutes to drive. So now I'm sitting in a car for almost an hour and a half, and I'm very tense."
"I'm worried about the traffic," he continued. "So I started smoking a cigar going to the games. In 1993. It became a ritual for every home game."
He's admitted to smoking up to six cigars per day, which left fans wondering about how it affected his performance in each game.
However, you'll notice that the famous billionaire was only seen with a cigar in just one episode of ESPN's miniseries. And apparently, his mom was the one who put that to an end.
The director, Jason Hehir, recalled: "He said 'I can’t have a cigar today because my mom got mad at me because she saw me smoking a cigar.'" Ummm kudos to his mom for being such a boss!
Fans now worry that all the smoking left Michael Jordan's eyes discolored.
Aside from smoking cigars on the daily, it's worth noting that Michael has also opened up about consuming a lot of whiskey. And fans now worry that his eyes are yellow because of these habits. However, it hasn't been confirmed that his smoking and drinking are connected to the condition of his eyes. Michael has yet to address these rumors publicly, but it's likely that he'll open up about it eventually.