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Why Michael Jordan's Father Is Missing From 'The Last Dance'

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Michael Jordan's documentary, The Last Dance, focuses on the basketball legend's career with the Chicago Bulls, featuring interviews with fellow players, journalists, and even the icon's mother. 

The ESPN docuseries' first two episodes explored the NBA star's rise from college basketball player to the pros. 

While many think the basketball legend (who some refer to as the GOAT) simply excelled at the sport, the documentary revealed how hard Michael had to work. As a high school sophomore in Wilmington, N.C., Michael failed to make the varsity team.

“I was demoralized and didn’t want to play any more sports,” he said. “I felt like the coach didn’t like me.”  

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However, his mom Deloris quickly put her son in his place, telling him, "If you really want it, you work hard over the summer.” And, her parenting advice worked! She added, "That ball never left his hand.”  

Let's take a look at the star's parents and the role they played in getting him to the big time.

Who are Michael Jordan's parents? His mom was featured in 'The Last Dance'.

In the ESPN documentary, the 57-year-old's mom was featured, reading an older letter that Michael had sent her when he was in college. To give fans a small behind the scenes moment of what life was like for the then-budding athlete, Deloris revealed (via the letter) that her son needed money to pay his phone bill and needed some stamps. Yes, postal stamps.

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Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore (L) chats with Deloris.

Aside from being the parent of a sports icon, Deloris is also a best-selling author and has written numerous children's books. She also founded the James R. Jordan Foundation, which aims to further education for youths. Deloris created this foundation in honor of her late husband.  

What happened to Michael Jordan's dad?

Sadly, on July 23, 1993, Michael's father James Jordan Sr. was tragically murdered. James was reportedly asleep at a rest stop in North Carolina when he was shot to death. His body was dumped off in a swamp and recovered in the water in South Carolina 11 days later.

Two men, Larry Demery and Daniel Green, were charged with murdering James Sr. Following the death of his father, Michael retired from the league in 1993. According to The Chicago Tribune, the athlete said at the time, “The most positive thing I can take from my father not being here with me today is that he saw my last basketball game. And that means a lot."

However, No. 23 came back to the NBA in 1995 after a short-stint career with the MLB.

Why do Michael Jordan's eyes appear yellow?

During the documentary, fans noticed that the athlete's eyes appeared to be a bit yellow. This prompted speculation that the former basketball star could be suffering from liver disease. 

However, Michael has never publicly announced that he has any underlying health issues, which has fans forming their own theories as to why the former Chicago Bull may be suffering from jaundice (condition in which the white part of a person's eyes turns yellow).

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Watch The Last Dance on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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