James R. Jordan Sr.

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James R. Jordan Sr.
James Raymond Jordan

(1936-07-31)July 31, 1936
DiedJuly 23, 1993(1993-07-23) (aged 56)
Cause of deathGunshot wound
Resting placeRockfish African Methodist Episcopal Church Cemetery
Other namesRay Jordan
EducationCharity High School
Known forFather of Michael Jordan
Deloris Peoples
(m. 1956)
Children5, including Michael Jordan
RelativesJeffrey Jordan (grandson)
Marcus Jordan (grandson)

James Raymond Jordan (July 31, 1936 – July 23, 1993) was the father of former basketball player Michael Jordan.


Jordan was born in Wallace, North Carolina, on July 31, 1936. While attending Charity High School, he met Deloris Peoples (born September 1941). The two began dating and remained together for the next three years. Upon graduation, Jordan joined the Air Force and was stationed in San Antonio, Texas. In 1956, he transferred to a base in Virginia and married Peoples shortly thereafter. Their first child, son James Ronald "Ronnie" Jr., was born the following year. Jordan left the Air Force and got a job at a textile mill in Wallace. The Jordans had two more children, Deloris and Larry.[1] The Jordans brought up their children in the Methodist faith.[2]

In 1963, the Jordan family moved to Brooklyn so that Jordan could receive mechanic's training on the G.I. Bill. He studied airplane hydraulics, while Peoples found work at a bank. While living in Brooklyn, the Jordans had another child, son Michael. As crime began to increase in Brooklyn in the 1960s, the Jordans moved back to North Carolina to raise their children in a safer environment. Upon completing his 18 months' training, Jordan and his family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. It was there that the couple's fifth child, Roslyn, was born.[1]

A lifelong basketball fan, Jordan played a large role in inspiring his son Michael to become an athlete and traveled the United States to follow his son's career, first at the University of North Carolina and then with the Chicago Bulls.[3]

Nonetheless, Jordan was also a very big baseball fan, having gone semi-pro himself. In his autobiography and in interviews throughout his career, son Michael recounted that it was his father's vision that he become a baseball star. Baseball was, in fact, the first sport Jordan had taught him to play. Michael recounted that this was a major factor in his decision to try baseball after his first retirement from the NBA.[4][5]

In her memoir In My Family's Shadow, Jordan's daughter Deloris accused him of sexually abusing her between the ages of 8 and 16.[6]


On July 23, 1993, while returning home after spending the day playing golf, Jordan, allegedly tired from being on the road so late, pulled his Lexus over to rest about an hour into his drive. He stopped in the parking lot of a Quality Inn at the intersection of U.S. 74 and I-95 south of Lumberton, North Carolina (though some say his car was moved to the parking lot from the side of the road later).[7] Larry Martin Demery would testify that he and Daniel Andre Green spotted the car Michael had recently purchased for him (a red Lexus SC400 with the North Carolina license plate that read "UNC0023").[8] Green shot Jordan to death while he slept in his car and then stole the vehicle. His body was found on August 3 in a swamp in McColl, South Carolina. As his body was in a state of extreme decomposition, Jordan was not identified until August 13 with the help of dental records provided by the family dentist; his body had previously been cremated by the coroner due to lack of storage space, but his jaw and hands were preserved for identification and later mailed to Michael Jordan.[9]

Green and Demery took other items from the car, including two NBA championship rings given to Jordan by his son. Green and Demery made several calls from Jordan's cell phone and as a result were quickly captured. After their arrest, Demery said that they had planned only to tie up their victim and that Green pulled the trigger for no reason. Both were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.[10] The accusation was based only on Demery's testimony; Green did not testify. Defense counsel Woodberry Bowen said Demery had everything to gain by lying that Green was the shooter, and that Green's testimony put Demery closer than he earlier admitted.[11] Jordan was buried at Rockfish African Methodist Episcopal Church in Teachey, North Carolina, on August 15, 1993.[12]

In 2010, it was revealed the case was one of nearly 200 that were in review after the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation found that laboratory technicians mishandled or omitted evidence.[13] However, the Jordan case was later removed from the list.[14]

On July 23, 2018, Christine Mumma, executive director of the Center on Actual Innocence, said evidence showed Green did not commit the murder. Green claimed Demery merely asked him for help disposing of the body.[15] On August 3, 2018, Superior Court Judge Winston Gilchrist ruled on several motions and set a December date for a hearing.[16] On December 5, 2018, Mumma asked Gilchrist to allow a closer look at evidence that could lead to a new trial, and Gilchrist said he would rule later.[17] Gilchrist said on March 6, 2019, that he would not grant Green a hearing, and Mumma said she would appeal.[18]

In August 2020, Demery was approved for parole by the North Carolina Post-Release Supervision and Parole Commission (the Commission), with a scheduled release in August 2023.[19] The scheduled release had already been pushed back by the Commission to August 2024 when – in December 2021 – a review by the Commission resulted in the termination of his scheduled parole release; his next parole review hearing will be in December 2023.[20]


  1. ^ a b "What Michael Jordan's Mother Knows About Parenting". CNB. cbn.com. March 19, 2008. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  2. ^ Lazenby, Roland (2014). Michael Jordan: The Life. p. 43. The family . . . attend services at Rockfish African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Jordan family's place of worship for decades
  3. ^ NBA Encyclopedia (March 1, 1996). "NBA Encyclopedia - Michael Jordan=2007-11-18". NBA.com.
  4. ^ Lazenby, Roland (May 5, 2014). "Remember Michael Jordan's time in baseball, 20 years later". Sportsonearth.com. Archived from the original on March 1, 2019. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  5. ^ Luke (August 3, 2012). "Michael Jordan, his Father and Baseball. [HD]". YouTube. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  6. ^ Bhargava, Yakshpat (October 4, 2022). ""Lost virginity to my father" Michael Jordan's sister accused James Jordan of sexual assault in darkest story of the family". First Sportz. Archived from the original on December 1, 2022. Retrieved December 1, 2022.
  7. ^ Margaritoff, Marco (May 7, 2020). "Why The Men Who Killed Michael Jordan's Father May Have Walked Free". All That's Interesting. Retrieved May 25, 2023.
  8. ^ "Police refuse to name Jordan trigger man/Two teen-age suspects are denied bail". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 7, 2012.
  9. ^ "Says He Will Prove He Didn't Kill Michael Jordan's Dad". Sports Illustrated. December 4, 2018. Retrieved October 2, 2023. {{cite magazine}}: Unknown parameter |agency= ignored (help)
  10. ^ "James R. Jordan Sr., Father of Michael Jordan, Is Murdered". Worldhistoryproject.org. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  11. ^ "Green Sentenced to Life in Prison for James Jordan Murder". Wral.com. March 11, 1996. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  12. ^ "Jordan Family Buries Father". Greensboro News and Record. August 15, 1993. Archived from the original on April 30, 2024.
  13. ^ Baker, Mike (August 19, 2010). "Lab mistakes revive questions about murder of Jordan's father". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved July 4, 2023.
  14. ^ "Daniel Andre Green, convicted in the 1993 murder of Michael Jordan's father, wants a retrial". Fayobserver.com. Retrieved June 4, 2018.
  15. ^ Lamb, Amanda (July 23, 2018). "25 years after death of Michael Jordan's father, convicted killer awaits latest bid for new trial". WRAL-TV. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  16. ^ Kosikowski, Ashlea (August 3, 2018). "25 years ago today James Jordan's body found; convicted killer in court". WWBT. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  17. ^ "Man convicted of killing Michael Jordan's father argues trial violated constitutional rights". NBC News. December 5, 2018. Retrieved January 10, 2019 – via Associated Press.
  18. ^ Drew, Jonathan (March 8, 2019). "Judge to reject new trial in death of Michael Jordan's father". Salisbury Post. Retrieved March 9, 2019 – via Associated Press.
  19. ^ "Man who killed Michael Jordan's father approved for parole". WWAY. August 18, 2020. Retrieved August 27, 2020.
  20. ^ "Parole off for man convicted of killing MJ's dad". ESPN.com. December 28, 2021. Retrieved December 29, 2021.

External links[edit]

James R. Jordan Sr. at Find a Grave