Why Michael Jordan introduced himself to Harold Varner, and Varner ignored it

“The Boss” texted. 

And then Michael Jordan waited for seven hours. 

“If not longer,” Harold Varner said. 

Varner can explain. Kind of. When his Airness texts you hello, with an offer to become the first PGA Tour player to represent his Jordan Brand clothing soon to come, and you ignore your phone and go about your day, you should have some excuse. 

It was definitely not for a lack of excitement. On Varner’s bio on the Tour’s website, under “personal,” it reads: “If he were not playing golf, would want to be ‘the best NBA player in the world.’” So four years ago, Fred Whitfield, a friend of Varner’s who shares ownership of the Charlotte Hornets with Jordan, told Varner that “the Boss is going to text you.”

“I’m like — for about 45 minutes, I’m like, who the hell’s the boss?” Varner said on this week’s episode of GOLF’s Subpar podcast. 

“So I get this text, and I’m working out that morning to go play a practice round and I totally forgot. Totally forgot.” 

“Feels like something you could forget, that Jordan would be texting you,” Subpar co-host Drew Stoltz said, tongue in cheek. 

“Every time I tell this story everyone’s like, how’d you do that?” Varner said. “I’m like, bro, I mean, you just forget, you know. You go play a practice round, and you don’t text back. And I get back to the hotel, and [his wife] Amanda’s like — I told Amanda I was like, man, I feel like some boss, I’m pretty sure that’s MJ. And she’s like, did MJ text you? And I was like, he did. I forgot. Like, seven hours later.”

Varner, of course, would respond — “MJ texts me, said I’d love to have you in the brand, and two days later, Harold Varner was in the brand,” he said — and he’s been wearing the Jumpman logo on his hat, shirts and shoes ever since.  

And the coolest part of being a Jordan Brand athlete? “The stuff you get to do with it.”

“Like people are like, oh, I want this, or blah, blah, blah,” Varner said. “Like obviously I get to do stuff with my foundation, but there’s kids who are like, hey, can I get some Jordans for some foundation. Yeah, sure. That’s the coolest part for me. Because at the end of the day, no one’s going to remember all the shoes I had. They’re going to know, man, Harold gave me this shoe and I’ve made X amount of dollars for this.”

To watch the entire Subar interview with Varner, please see below. 

Nick Piastowski

Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor

Nick Piastowski is a Senior Editor at Golf.com and Golf Magazine. In his role, he is responsible for editing, writing and developing stories across the golf space. And when he’s not writing about ways to hit the golf ball farther and straighter, the Milwaukee native is probably playing the game, hitting the ball left, right and short, and drinking a cold beer to wash away his score. You can reach out to him about any of these topics — his stories, his game or his beers — at nick.piastowski@golf.com.