Michael Jordan Would Pay Grocery Store Workers to Stay Open Late So He Could Privately Shop

Many celebrities have learned over the years that going out into public can be very difficult. Fans will recognize them and ask for handshakes, selfies or autographs. This is doubly true for someone as famous as Michael Jordan, which prompts alternative methods for grocery shopping.

One of Jordan's former teammates, Brad Sellers, provided some details about the Hall of Famer's level of fame and how it affected his daily life during the height of the Chicago Bulls dynasty. Jordan quickly went from a smalltown kid to one of the most famous players in the entire league. Sellers told The Undefeated that Jordan actually had to arrange secret shopping trips at local grocery stores in Chicago. He would pay the stores to stay open late so he could get his necessary items.

"You saw MJ doing laundry in the first few episodes and that was him back then, the country side of him, just living like a regular dude," Sellers said. "But he just got bigger and bigger in basketball and to a point where he couldn't go out. I remember saying to him one day, 'Hey, M, how do you eat?' He told me he would call Jewel-Osco [a grocery chain] about 15 minutes before they closed, and let them know he was coming in. They would stay open later to let him shop."

While getting to watch the most famous player walk around and pick out groceries would be a surreal experience, it did keep the employees at work longer than expected. Jordan recognized this and would reportedly tip the staff for helping him out. He wasn't the wealthiest athlete in the league, but he was providing a decent amount of money for those that helped him shop.

"He wasn't making no $30 million a year; I'm sure at that time he was making less than a million," Sellers continued. "But it was a lot of money at the time and he made sure that he took care of people." These tips, as well as his play on the field, helped Jordan create some lifelong fans in the Chicago area.


ESPN's 10-part documentary series about the Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, The Last Dance, has provided some insight into this level of fame, but Sellers saw it firsthand. He actually used Jordan's popularity to his benefit when traveling to games. The state troopers would reportedly recognize Jordan's Corvette and would provide him with a police escort down the shoulder of the highway. Sellers would pull in behind Jordan in his own Blazer and would get an escort of his own to the arena.

Long since retired, Jordan is still one of the most famous people in NBA history. He is someone that still gets recognized in public, which would make shopping difficult. It's unknown if he still pays grocery stores to stay open late, but he does have the option of having his food delivered.