Michael Jordan landed some serious trophies during his Hall of Fame NBA career, but he might have caught his biggest one yet! Following his retirement at the end of the 1997-98 season, those trophies have changed with the former Chicago Bulls star recently reeling in a 442-pound blue marlin during the Big Rock Fishing Tournament.
Jordan and his crew headed to Morehead City, North Carolina, for the popular tournament and made an immediate impact. They reeled in the massive marlin during the second day. When the 80-foot boat, Catch 23, pulled into the docks, the crowd greeted Jordan with cheers. They increased in volume after the marlin weighed in at 442.3 pounds, which is the sixth-largest catch.
Michael Jordan’s “Catch 23” team hauled in a 442 pound blue marlin today in the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament. pic.twitter.com/6JQQGSVN7V— Ryan Field (@RyanFieldABC) June 10, 2020
"It's been a while since I've been back in Morehead City," Jordan said about the fishing tournament. "It's only about 100 miles from Wilmington, and it's always great for me to be able to come back. I'm happy to be back. Thank you for inviting me."
According to ESPN, the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament has a reputation as one of the biggest events in the country. Anglers set out on their boats with the goal of landing a massive marlin and an even bigger payday. The total purse for 2020's tournament is $3.3 million.
Jordan's catch was originally in fifth place, but another crew reeled in a 450-pound marlin and leapfrogged Catch 23. Only the top-three fish are eligible for the prize money, so the 442-pound behemoth still fell short. However, Jordan still had time remaining to land an even bigger fish. The tournament pays out for the three biggest fish landed. The largest catch secures a $1.1 million payday. There is also a bonus prize totaling $550,000 for the crew that first breaks the 500-pound mark.
Crystal Hesmer, the tournament's executive director, spoke to the Associated Press about Jordan's appearance. Hesmer said that the crowd was "electric" when the Hall of Famer pulled into the marina. This isn't Jordan's first marlin tournament, but it's his first in his home state. "Oh, my gosh, for Michael Jordan to be in our same air space is exciting and thrilling enough, but for him to land a fish at our tournament and bring it in is thrilling for the entire town," Hesmer said. "It's unbelievable that he's here in our little town.'' The crowd also reportedly loved the North Carolina Tar Heels paint job on Catch 23.