‘Must be good to be the king’: Former MLB All-Star shares story of Michael Jordan cleaning up in Blackjack
Mark Grace, as the long-time Chicago Cubs first baseman, was well known in the Chicago area. However, he wasn’t as well known as Michael Jordan.
Grace, a three-time MLB All-Star who also won a World Series with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001, has turned into quite the golf nut since his playing days. He joined GOLF’s Subpar Podcast to talk about what it’s like playing with comedian Bill Murray and what he’s learned in a handful of trips to Augusta National, but he also talked plenty of baseball and lots else.
One non-golf story that came up involved running into the Bulls legend at a Chicago-area casino.
As Grace tells it, his parents came to visit on an off day, and they decided to go gambling on a riverboat casino. This particular casino had three levels, and the second level, which was reserved for Blackjack, was completely roped off.
“There are at least 70 Blackjack tables on this boat that are not being used,” Grace said. “One is, and that’s where Jordan is playing.”
Jordan was the only one playing on the entire floor, and he was alone, Grace said. After speaking to a few bodyguards to ask if he could go say hello and introduce his parents, Grace eventually got through. Turns out, Jordan was having himself quite the heater.
“And he’s got stacks of — I think 50s and 100s [chips] are really, really good, and he’s got colors I’ve never seen before,” Grace said. “He’s got aqua marine and he’s got all of these colors and there are stacks of thousands, five-thousands, ten-thousands, stacks of them.”
Grace said hello and they chatted a bit. Then they stood and watched.
“I watched him play about 20 hands, and if he played 20 hands he probably won 18 of them,” Grace said. “And he’s putting thousands upon thousands of dollars, big stacks of chips, anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 a hand, and he’s winning. And I’m watching this s— and I’m like, ‘Man it must be good to be the king.'”
Jordan asked Grace to sit down and play with him, but he declined. (“No, I’m not going to put my $20 bet out there while you are betting $30,000!” he said.)
Grace said that Jordan was very gracious to his parents. He told MJ good luck the rest of the way, and on the way out Grace stopped and chatted with the casino host.
“I tell you what, Michael’s got your ass tonight,” Grace told him. “He goes, ‘Gracie, this happens all the time; he always gives it back. He always gives it back.'”
No word on how Jordan finished that night, but he put on quite a show for Grace.
You can check out the entire podcast below.