Why Did Michael Jordan’s Dad Get Shot? What Happened?

1993 was a huge year for NBA great Michael Jordan. It would mark the third consecutive year he won the NBA Finals MVP, a first in the history of the league.

It was also a period of pure heartache for the Chicago Bulls superstar. Brutally murdered on July 23, 1993, was his father, and his number one fan, James Jordan Sr.

His death led to Michael’s brief retirement period, which spanned from October 1993 until February 1994.

Why Did Michael Jordan’s Dad Get Shot?

James, as the Chicago Tribune reported, had been driving home from a friend’s funeral in the early morning hours of July 23, 1993, when he decided to pull over for a nap in his red Lexus.

It was somewhere along a highway in Lumberton, North Carolina, around 2 a.m., that 18-year-olds Daniel Andre Green and Larry Martin Demery saw their mark.

They later said they had intended only to rob James of his car, that they hadn’t meant to kill him, but it just happened.

The teenagers told the investigators that they had planned to tie James up and leave him on the side of the road, taking along his expensive car, a present from his son, Michael, along with other items in it.

Instead, Green shot the 56-year-old square in the chest, killing him. “He awakened, and when he awakened the guy with the gun got scared and shot him,” Robeson County Sheriff Hubert Stone said at their arraignment, according to the Washington Post.

Where Was James Jordan Sr. Found Dead?

On August 3, fisherman Hal Locklear made the grim discovery of James’ decomposing remains in what was known as Gum Swamp, a marshy wetland in South Carolina where locals catch catfish. It wouldn’t be positively identified as James until August 13.

“(The body) was just something I walked upon,” Locklear told the L.A. Times. “I was walking the banks for 30 minutes before I found anything.. It’s dense right there. You couldn’t see it from the bridge. It probably would have taken a fisherman to find it. There is a swimming hole up the road from where I found it.”

According to the Associated Press, James was identified ten days later through dental records with impressions of the jaw and hands since the body had been cremated by then.

How were Larry Martin Demery and Daniel Andre Green Caught? 

Almost at the same time that James was being buried in a grave next to his mother and father, police apprehended Green and Demery when the pair made traceable calls on James’ car phone.

The teens are charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery, according to the Sun-Times, arrested on August 16 and taken into custody without bail.

According to The Sun-Times, Green and Demery surrendered to the police although, using James’ phone, the FBI and North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations were able to locate the two perpetrators.

“One of the things that helped us the most was the car phone,” said Capt. Art Binder of the Cumberland County (N.C.) Sheriff’s Department. “They took (the phone), they made telephone calls and we traced them.

Final Thoughts

If you are a fan of Michael Jordan, you might be aware that his beloved father, James R. Jordan, Sr., was killed in North Carolina in 1993.

But do you know the whole story? Michael Jordan has only spoken out about it a couple of times in public.

The murder made international headlines, the subsequent trial was a national media event—cams weren’t allowed in the courtroom, and there’s a lot in the world that still doesn’t know what’s the case, and a lot of questions are still to be answered.