The Story Behind the Michael Jordan Love Letter That’s Up for Auction
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Jordan signing autographs in 1985
In the wake of “The Last Dance,” Michael Jordan memorabilia has never been hotter.
Since the documentary, records have been set for his rookie card ($97,200) and for a game-used jersey ($288,000), and sales of virtually everything Jordan have exponentially increased.
But the real symbol of the frenzy might be a love letter Jordan wrote 31 years ago, which was posted late last week by Iconic Auctions based in Arizona.
With little publicity, the top bid for the 20-page note, written to a woman named Amy Hunter — then a 23-year-old actress living in New York — is now $11,695.
“Amy, sometimes I am the most selfish person on this earth because for one whole year all I thought about was Michael,” Jordan writes in the letter. “… I admit I made a mistake, but found it difficult to change it. Let’s say I do change the mistake. You would not believe the problems we would encounter. It is unthinkable. We wouldn‘t have a pleasant relationship or a private one. Our business up for opinions by the whole world. This is a pressure I can’t live with.”
Multiple Jordan handwriting experts have confirmed the authenticity of his signature in the letter and on the envelope. The letter is postmarked from Charlotte on July 11, 1989, but the auction house has noted that Jordan likely wrote the letter months before. The stationary it’s written on is from the Guest Quarters Suite Hotel in Troy, Michigan, which is where the Bulls stayed when they played the Detroit Pistons in the 1989 Eastern Conference Finals that May.
At the time he wrote the letter, Jordan was two months away from marrying Juanita Vanoy, whom he met in 1985, at A Little Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas. Jordan and Vanoy already had a son, Jeffrey, who was born in November 1988.
“Amy, if I was Michael Jordan, the ordinary man with a 9 to 5 job, then it wouldn’t be hard to admit my mistake,” Jordan wrote. “But instead, I am the Michael Jordan who is put on the pedestal and viewed to be the perfect role model. A lot of people, not just kids, but whole families. Can you imagine the responsibilities I have to deal with. Not to mention a baby by a lady who I have loved for 3 1/2 years.”
Vanoy and Jordan would have two more children together, Marcus and Jasmine. The two were divorced in 2006 and Jordan married Yvette Prieto in 2013.
Auctioneer Jeff Woolf says that this is actually the third time this letter is being sold. Hunter sold it to a private collector about 17 years ago, Woolf said, then that collector sold it in an auction in 2014, though the auction house that sold it never displayed the letter’s full contents. The person who bought it in that auction, which had a single bid and quietly sold for $2,560, has now consigned it to Iconic.
The Action Network reached out to both Jordan representatives and Hunter herself. Both had no comment.
Hunter, who has previously sold letters and memorabilia from Jordan to other auction houses, would go on to play officer Jamie Strickland in “Pacific Blue” and eventually married Tony Cornelius, son of Don Cornelius, host of the dance and music show, “Soul Train.” The two, who are also now divorced, have one daughter, Christina, who went on to become the captain of the Harvard volleyball team.
This wouldn’t be the first Jordan love letter to be auctioned. A letter Jordan wrote in 1981 to a high school love sold many times for as much as $5,100. A love poem Jordan also wrote in high school sold for more than $3,000.
The auction for this letter to Hunter, which has five total Jordan signatures and is authenticated by Beckett Authentication and James Spence Authentication, closes on May 30.