Jordan gambles the night away

NEW YORK — NEW YORK -- The Chicago Bulls' Michael Jordan apparently spent the night and early morning before Tuesday night's playoff game gambling in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino.

According to an employee at Bally's Grand, Jordan was at the hotel's casino late Monday night. The employee, who requested anonymity, said Jordan checked into the hotel at 5:07 p.m. and checked out at 11:05 p.m.


A spokesman for Bally's, Michael DiLeva, would only say: "We have to respect the privacy of our guests."

However, two spectators at Tuesday night's New York Knicks-Bulls game said they saw Jordan at Bally's as late as 2:30 Tuesday morning. The spectators, longtime courtside regulars at Madison Square Garden, also asked that their names not be used.


In addition, radio stations in Philadelphia and Atlantic City received calls yesterday from people who said they saw Jordan at the casino.

As he finished his media-room interview after the game Tuesday night, Jordan privately was asked if he had been in Atlantic City Monday night. He smiled, then mumbled something and kept walking.

The Bulls practiced until early Monday afternoon and then had a morning shoot-around at the Garden on Tuesday. Jordan attended both sessions. The team had a day off yesterday in Chicago, and calls to Jordan and coach Phil Jackson for comment on whether Jordan had violated team rules were not returned. A Bulls spokesman said, "We have not heard anything about that."

Jordan had 36 points in the Bulls' 96-91 loss Tuesday, scoring 11 in the second half.

Over the past 20 months, Jordan has been playing basketball virtually nonstop: the 1991-92 season and playoffs, the Olympics, a few weeks off, then the recent 82-game season and the current playoffs.

Jordan also has been bothered by a sprained ankle and a sprained wrist suffered during the earlier playoff rounds.

Jordan is no stranger to gambling. He often was seen in the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco when the Dream Team was practicing there last summer before the Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. Last year, he was reported to have paid out $165,000 to cover high-stakes golf and poker debts in North Carolina.

Atlantic City is about a two-hour ride from the Bulls' midtown New York hotel.