Juanita Vanoy is a former American model, whose main claim to fame was her marriage to Michael Jordan, an American former professional basketball player, who is acclaimed as the greatest of all time (GOAT), and today’s major shareowner of the Charlotte Hornets, a National Basketball Association (NBA) team.
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Early Life and Family
Juanita Vanoy was born on 13 June 1959, in the Southside of Chicago, Illinois, USA; she has five sisters, but little else is known about her family and early life.
She matriculated from the Christian Fener High School, and attended a local junior college.
She started working as a fashion model in her teens, and continued while she was studying. Juanita later took on the position of an executive secretary in one of the offices of the American Bar Association, and also worked as a real estate investment loan officer for Heitman Financial Services, while going to a local junior college to complete an associate’s degree.
Currently, she is the owner and president of Vanoy Jordan Enterprises LLC, a real estate company.
Juanita married Michael Jordan in November 1989, at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas. She was a loan officer when she first met him, through a mutual friend who thought that they’d make a great couple, introduced to Michael after a Chicago Bulls game in 1985 at Bennigans restaurant.
They dated for about two years before he proposed to her, and were engaged for another couple of years and already had their eldest, Jeffrey Michael, before they married. They were blessed with another son, Marcus James, in 1990 and finally had a daughter, Jasmine Mickael, in 1992.
Vanoy filed for divorce in 2002 due to irreconcilable differences, but didn’t push it through as she and Michael decided to work through their problems, and reconciled. However, four years later, the couple announced that they mutually filed for a divorce, in a joint statement released in December of 2006.
The divorce settlement she received from Michael was one of the biggest in history at that time, which amounted to $168 million. There were no bitter arguments in court, as the former couple made sure they were both co-parenting the children even if she was given full custody.
They obviously parted amicably, somehow remained friends, and it showed on how well-rounded the kids are, growing up.
Both of her sons played basketball during high school up to college, but veered away from playing the game professionally. Juanita made sure that they never wore the No. 23 jersey, even if the coaches wanted them to wear it, to teach them to manage and hone their own skills without the influence of their father’s celebrity status. While living in the suburbs, she ensures that her children will not live on a bubble and that they would be informed about the realities of life by showing them her former neighborhood. She brought them to her mom’s house and showed how their cousins were living so they would not just appreciate what they have, but most importantly learn how to give back.
Today, Jeffrey manages the brand global digitalization of his father’s clothing and merchandise business, Jordan Brand. Marcus established a boutique store which he named, “Trophy Room,” where it immortalized his father’s legacy through the merchandise that was sold, and the rare pictures that hang on the walls of the store. The youngest and only girl started as an operations co-ordinator in her father’s NBA team, the Charlotte Hornets, after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in sports management from Syracuse University, but later on moved to become an executive in managing the Jordan Brand.
Juanita is rumored to have been in a relationship with a certain Ken Reynolds since 2006.
Who is Michael Jordan?
Michael Jeffrey “MJ” Jordan of African-American descent, was born on 17 February 1963, at the Cumberland Hospital in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York City USA, to parents James R. and Deloris Peoples Jordan. He has four siblings: two brothers, Larry and James Jr., and two sisters, Deloris and Roslyn. The family permanently moved to Wilmington, North Carolina a few years after his birth.
Growing up, his first love was baseball, a passion he shared with his father, but when he saw his older brother Larry play basketball superbly, his interest shifted. He matriculated from Emsley A. Laney High School playing various sports, but was cut from his high school varsity team due to his height when he tried out during his sophomore year.
Apparently, he was only 5ft 11ins (1.80m) at that time, and the coaching team felt that he was too short. Even back then, Michael’s determination was evident as he proved to everyone that he deserved a spot when he dominated the junior varsity team. Due to his impressive performance, he was given the chance to play at the McDonald’s All American Game in 1981 during his senior year, recording 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists.
After receiving many offers from several universities, he chose the full basketball scholarship from the University of North Carolina, where he thrived and received many accolades including Rookie of the Year, NCAA All-American First Team, and Wooden and Naismith College Player of the Year awards.
His winning shot in the NCAA Championship game in 1982 was often talked about as a precursor of many great things to come. He entered the NBA draft of 1984, and was the third overall pick only because the first two teams needed a center, and already had a player with a similar position as Jordan.
He was a gold medalist in the 1984 Olympics before turning pro, and when he did in 1986, he was awarded Rookie of the Year, and aside from getting into the All-NBA second team selection, he improved the Chicago Bulls record. It took him two years to become the league’s Most Valuable Player, which he won five times over, and a few more years after that to take the Chicago Bulls to the NBA Finals.
In 1991 he was finally able to receive his first championship ring, along with taking the Finals MVP award.
He became a Nike major endorser way before he was able to clinch a championship, and it was the best business decision they (both) made. Michael changed the sneaker culture by making them fashionable to wear even when off court. Nike eclipsed leading competitors, as everyone wanted a pair of Michael’s Air Jordan.
Michael was able to bring his team to greater heights by winning the NBA Championship three times in a row, 1991 to 1993, also taking the Finals MVP trophy in those years.
In 1992, he was tasked to lead the US Olympics so-called Dream Team, along with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson. His popularity even grew and fueled NBA’s global appeal. However, when his father was murdered in 1993, Michael’s desire to play the game diminished, and he announced his retirement in October 1993.
After his basketball retirement, he joined the Major League Baseball (MLB) team the Chicago White Sox in 1994, to pursue his father’s dream of playing baseball. Since he’d never trained to become a baseball player, he was not successful no matter how competitive he was in the game. When there was a baseball strike, he opted to leave the league on his terms rather than become a potential replacement player during a labor dispute.
— Jordan (@Jumpman23) May 18, 2020
Return to the Basketball
In 1995 he returned to basketball, and was welcomed with open arms not only by the Chicago Bulls franchise but NBA fans around the world. The Chicago Bulls had a record of 55-27 without him and while they were able to enter the playoffs, they were booted out easily in the second round. With Michael in their roster, the Bulls reached the Eastern Conference Finals, but lost to the Orlando Magic which prompted players to say that he was no longer the no. 23 Michael Jordan they knew, and that he already lost his game wearing the no. 45 jersey; since his original jersey was retired along with his retirement back in 1994, he used the number he was using in baseball.
The following season, Michael wore his number 23 jersey again, with fines and all, and won the NBA Finals three more consecutive times from 1996 to 1998 with his team, making it their second three-peat. He also won two regular season MVPs and three Final MVPs. The general manager of the Bulls fired their coach, Phil Jackson, even though they won the Finals that season and Michael publicly said that he wouldn’t play for another coach. He retired from basketball again for the second time in 1999.
Return to basketball for a second time
A year after retirement he went back to basketball, to be a part owner and president of the basketball operations for the Washington Wizards. In 2001, Michael decided to play again in the NBA with the Wizards, after hiring Doug Collins, the head coach of the Chicago Bulls prior to Phil Jackson.
He donated his salary to the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attack. He played for two seasons, but a torn cartilage in his right knee stopped him from playing on, so in 2003 he retired for the third and final time.
NBA Team Owner
After his retirement, he thought he could continue as president of the basketball operations with the Washington Wizards organization, but the major owner decided to fire him and he felt betrayed. Michael then just focused on his Jordan Brand company, until in 2010 when he bought a majority ownership of the NBA basketball team, the Charlotte Hornets; he is the only African-American owner of an NBA team.
In 2020, a 10-part documentary series, “The Last Dance,” was aired, chronicling Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls journey winning an incredible two three-peat NBA Championships.
New NBA fans were given a chance to know Michael, and the old fans were treated with rare stories and footages about his time with Chicago Bulls.
Juanita was co-Founder and Vice Chairman of the Michael and Juanita Jordan Endowment Fund, established to support several educational and social community causes that were close to them. She was hands-on in choosing charities or organizations to support particularly children’s health. The couple also launched a United Negro College Fund Scholarship Program, to provide opportunities to Chicago students in several UNCF institutions.
She also served on the Boards of Directors in the Chicago Children’s Museum, The Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois, and the White House Endowment Fund.
Interesting Facts and Rumors
- In 2002, a woman named Karla Knafel sued Michael for not paying $5 million as he had promised her to keep their past relationship a secret. Allegedly, they had an affair from 1989 to 1991, and the woman claimed she was pregnant with Michael’s child. He paid her $250,000 to keep her quiet, but she wanted more and claimed he promised more. The court dismissed the case since it turned out that the child was not Michael’s. This was supposedly one of the reasons why Juanita filed for divorce in 2002, after finding out that he cheated on her in the first few years of their marriage.
- It was rumored that Michael insisted on a paternity test first when Juanita slapped him with a paternity suit when they broke up few months before he whisked her away to Las Vegas to get married.
She is 5ft. 8ins (1.62m) tall and weighs around 120lbs (54kgs). She has black hair and brown eyes.
Sources estimated her net worth to be close to $200 million as of May 2020, mostly the result of one of the biggest divorce settlements from her husband in 2006.