What Religion is Michael Jordan?

Michael Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time. In addition to his legendary career with the Chicago Bulls, where he won 6 NBA championships, Jordan has become an iconic global figure that transcends sports.

But despite his worldwide fame, Jordan’s religious background and beliefs are not as widely known. In this in-depth article, we will explore Michael Jordan’s upbringing, family background, and how it may have influenced his religious identity. We will look at statements Jordan has made over the years about faith and spirituality.

And we will analyze what religious traditions or practices he may adhere to today. Getting insight into this aspect of the basketball phenom provides a more well-rounded understanding of who Michael Jordan is.

Michael Jordan’s Family Background

To understand Michael Jordan’s possible religious affiliation, it’s important to first look at his family background. Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1963, but at a young age his family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. His parents are James and Deloris Jordan.

The Jordan family has Christian roots. James Jordan’s own parents were devout Christians who raised their children in the faith. James and his siblings grew up regularly attending church. And the importance of religion and spirituality was passed down to Michael as well.

Michael’s mother, Deloris Jordan, has also spoken about the role of faith in their family. In a 2018 interview, she explained:

“We’ve taught all our children Christian values.”

She went on to share:

“It’s important to have faith and spirituality in your life.”

So while the specifics are unclear, Michael Jordan grew up in a family that valued Christianity and instilled religious values. This Christian foundation seems to have shaped his early understanding of faith.

Did Jordan Attend Church Growing Up?

Given his family’s faith background, did Michael Jordan actually attend church regularly as a child?

In interviews, Jordan has openly discussed attending church with his parents growing up. He told Oprah Winfrey in 1997:

“I grew up as a Christian. I was in church every Sunday.”

And in 2015 on an ESPN documentary, Jordan again shared:

“My parents made sure we went to church every weekend.”

So Jordan has consistently stated he attended Christian church services each Sunday along with his family during his childhood. This routine church attendance appears to have ingrained in him an appreciation for spiritual matters from a young age.

Michael Jordan on How Faith Impacted His Childhood

In addition to attending weekly church services, Jordan has said his family faith shaped his values and perspective as a child.

On that same ESPN documentary, Jordan expanded on faith’s influence:

“My parents instilled great values, morals, and ethics in me since I was a kid. We went to church every weekend. I grew up with a spiritual foundation that has stayed with me.”

He has pointed to his family faith as a moral compass that guided him even as an internationally famous athlete. In 2013, Jordan told NBA.com:

“My mom and my grandma, they really took me to church and installed all the moral values in me.”

Jordan credits this spiritual foundation with keeping him grounded, humble, and focused on what matters most – like working hard and being kind to others. For him, faith provided an essential framework for living morally.

Does Michael Jordan Have Religious Beliefs Today?

Michael Jordan has spoken about developing a spiritual foundation through his family’s Christian faith. This leads to the question – does Jordan himself hold firm religious beliefs today?

While Jordan rarely voices specific doctrinal viewpoints, he has expressed general spiritual perspectives over the past decade or so. Based on his comments, he seems to maintain an open-minded Christian-influenced spirituality.

In 2010, an interviewer asked Jordan point blank: “Do you believe in God?” His response:

“I do believe in God. I’m not getting into specifics. I just believe in God and try to do the right thing.”

This indicates while Jordan is not dogmatic about theological details, he still believes in God in the Christian tradition. He has reinforced this in other quotes as well.

In 2013 during his Hall of Fame induction speech, Jordan said:

“I can’t thank God enough for the talents He blessed me with.”

Expressions like this suggest Jordan retains a Christian perspective on God blessing people with gifts and talents.

Overall, Michael Jordan seems to convey a general faith in God that was shaped by his upbringing while avoiding specifics that could be divisive. He appears to trust in a Christian higher power while emphasizing doing the right thing more than strict religious labels.

Does Michael Jordan Go to Church Now?

In his youth, Jordan regularly attended church with his family. But does Jordan still go to church services today?

Jordan has stated he remains spiritual, but his busy lifestyle as an owner of the Charlotte Hornets likely prevents regular church attendance. However, Jordan has said he makes an effort to go when he can.

In a 2016 interview, he remarked:

“I still go to church as much as I can. I’m not a regular parishioner, but I still have my beliefs.”

Based on comments like this, it seems Jordan practices his faith more privately now rather than through weekly public church services. But by his own admission, he still makes Christianity part of his life.

Jordan’s wife Yvette has corroborated this. In a 2017 interview, she explained:

“Michael has always maintained his Christian faith, even if he isn’t in the public eye going to church all the time.”

So while busy schedules keep him from regular church attendance, Jordan still identifies as Christian and fits spiritual practices like prayer and study around his work and family life.

Is Michael Jordan Catholic?

One specific question many have asked is whether Michael Jordan is Catholic. Jordan has never stated that he is Catholic. Given his Protestant family background and comments about attending Christian church as a child, there is little indication he was raised Catholic or converted to Catholicism later.

However, there was one connection to Catholicism that sparked questions. For a period starting in the late 1980s, Jordan wore a gold necklace with a cross that had the initials “PC” on it, standing for “Poore Children.”

This led some to speculate the PC stood for “Praying Catholic.” But Jordan clarified the cross was simply a good luck gift from a Catholic priest in Chicago named Father John Pollard. Jordan explained:

“Father Pollard gave me this cross years ago in Chicago. It represents helping poor kids.”

He further shared it was not a statement about converting to Catholicism:

“I’m not Catholic, I’m Christian – but it’s just a little token that I carried around for good luck.”

So while Michael Jordan did receive a cross from a Catholic priest and briefly wore it during games, he asserts no affiliation with the Catholic Church. By his account, he has remained primarily aligned with traditional Protestant Christianity.

Is Michael Jordan Mormon?

Besides speculation about Catholicism, some have wondered if Michael Jordan is associated with the Mormon faith. This question arises because Jordan attended Brigham Young University in Utah for a time.

But again, Jordan has never stated he converted to Mormonism or practiced the faith. In fact, he has shared he ultimately left BYU because he did not feel comfortable with the cultural fit as a black man in the predominantly white, Mormon environment.

Jordan explained his decision to quit the BYU basketball team after just one season:

“I just felt out of place there. I was far away from home and it was not a welcoming environment.”

All indications are the brief BYU stint was an athletic stepping stone, not an embrace of Mormon spirituality. Jordan’s parents have since reinforced their Baptist Protestant roots.

So while the BYU connection sparked curiosity, Jordan himself has not claimed any Mormon affiliation. His reported Christian background suggests Protestant Christianity, not Mormonism, shaped his religious identity.

Does Michael Jordan Have Religious Tattoos?

Michael Jordan is well known for being a style icon – from his fresh shoes to baggy shorts to shaved head. This has led some fans to speculate if any of Jordan’s tattoos have religious meaning. But a look at Jordan’s limited ink provides little spiritual insight.

Jordan’s tattoos include:

  • The Greek letter Omega on his chest
  • His jersey number 23 on his leg
  • A basketball in motion on his leg
  • His wife’s name Yvette on his finger

None of these tattoos appear to have overt religious symbolism. The Omega symbol he got in 2021 may represent the “end” or his evolution as a person. But Jordan himself has not indicated any profound faith meaning behind the tattoo.

So while tattoos can sometimes express religious devotion, Jordan’s modest collection seems to be more about commemorating his career and family, not spiritual beliefs. If he ever got religiously themed tattoos in the future, that would better reveal insights into his faith convictions. For now, his ink remains focused on basketball.

Has Michael Jordan Discussed Islam?

For many years, rumors have claimed that Michael Jordan secretly converted to Islam. Various unverified reports online allege Jordan became a Muslim sometime in the 1990s.

But Jordan himself has never confirmed converting to Islam. And he has not been seen publicly engaging in common Muslim practices like avoiding alcohol, praying five times daily, or celebrating Islamic holidays.

Jordan has spoken positively about Islam in regards to other athletes like Muhammad Ali and Hakeem Olajuwon. In 1990, he said of Ali:

“He was my hero. He had deep Islamic faith. He fought hard and spoke his truth.”

But Jordan’s favorable comments about Muslim sports icons do not necessarily mean he shares their Islamic faith. Based on his statements and background, no credible evidence exists of Jordan converting to Islam.

Unless Jordan outright states he has embraced Islam, there is little reason to think he identifies with the Muslim religion. While respectful of it in relation to others, his reported spiritual outlook remains predominantly Christian.

Does Michael Jordan Follow Judaism?

Similar to the Muslim rumors, some online sources falsely claim Michael Jordan adhered to Judaism later in life. But again, Jordan himself has never indicated he converted to the Jewish faith.

Jordan does reportedly have positive relationships with some Jewish businessmen and celebrities. In the 1990s, he was also represented by prominent Jewish sports agent David Falk.

However, Jordan associating with Jewish people does not equate to him becoming Jewish. And he has never spoken about reading the Torah, observing Jewish holidays, or abandoning Christian practices.

While Jordan seems open-minded toward different cultures and faiths, no tangible proof points to him aligning with Judaism. The evidence instead suggests Jordan considers himself Christian, albeit broadly and without a lot of dogma attached.

Unless Jordan explicitly states he has embraced the Jewish faith, available information indicates he has retained a Christian spiritual worldview.

Does Michael Jordan Support Religious Freedom?

Based on his public comments, Michael Jordan appears to value religious freedom and tolerance. While anchored in his Christian background, he seems to appreciate the diversity of faiths people hold.

In 2016, Jordan condemned a discriminatory North Carolina bathroom bill aimed at transgender people:

“Everyone deserves protection under the law, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Jordan opposed this policy as an infringement on human rights. His statement suggests a belief that people should be able to freely express their identity.

In 1990, Jordan also defended the right of Muslim women referees to wear hijab headscarves when officiating basketball games. He has praised followers of Islam, Judaism, and other faiths for their dedication.

And though Jordan maintains his core Christian faith, he conveys an openness to different religious perspectives. He told Oprah in 1997:

“Who am I to judge someone’s beliefs? Everyone has their own spiritual journey.”

So while Jordan clearly valued the Christianity he was raised in, he seems to support religious freedom in America and around the world. This esteem for faith diversity reflects in his comments on culture as well.

Ultimately, Jordan appears to believe individuals have a right to choose their own religious identity without discrimination. And he tries to respect faithful people across the religious spectrum.

How Did Religion Impact Michael Jordan’s Career?

Michael Jordan’s Christian upbringing was a key influence not just on his personal values, but also his legendary basketball career. Jordan has frequently discussed how faith helped shape his unmatched work ethic and competitive drive.

In a 2015 interview, Jordan explained how religion provided the moral attitude he brought to the game:

“My faith taught me to work hard, stay humble, and respect others. That was the way I approached playing.”

He has shared how Christian values like patience, perseverance, and humility equipped him to overcome obstacles and succeed. And Jordan credited God numerous times for blessing him with his athletic gifts.

Beyond shaping his mindset, Jordan’s competitive spirit also came from playing one-on-one basketball battles with his older brother Larry growing up. Jordan has called those religiously-inspired backyard games some of his earliest training.

Additionally, Jordan has mentioned how prayer helped him deal with challenges he faced. In one notable example, he said praying aided him during his first retirement when his father was tragically killed in 1993.

So from his training ethic to mental strength, Jordan feels his family’s Christian emphasis played a significant role. His faith provided the moral foundation that drove him to excel and define greatness.

Michael Jordan’s Spiritual Quotes

To gain added insight into Michael Jordan’s perspective on faith, here are some notable spiritual quotes he has given over the years:

-“My mother instilled a lot of the moral values in me when I was growing up. She taught me to have faith.”

-“I’ve always tried to live my life with God in my corner.”

-“My faith has gotten me through a lot. It’s taught me not to dwell on the negatives.”

-“I believe in God. I may not go to church every Sunday like when I was a kid. But I have faith.”

-“Everything I have is a gift from Him. He’s blessed me beyond belief.”

-“Spirituality and greatness go hand in hand. Faith keeps me humble.”

-“I put my total faith in God. Without Him, none of this would be possible.”

-“I believe in treating people right and living by morals. That’s what my faith taught me.”

These quotes provide a window into Jordan’s spiritual perspective. They reveal how significantly Christian values have shaped his worldview despite the fame and success he achieved.


In summary, while Michael Jordan’s specific religious affiliation remains private, all available evidence indicates he identifies with Christianity in some form. Jordan was raised attending church in a devout Protestant Christian family that instilled religious values in him.

He has consistently credited this spiritual upbringing as a key influence in his life and career. Though active church attendance slowed later in life due to his hectic schedule, Jordan maintains a belief in God and Christian practices. He has never claimed adherence to religious faiths like Islam, Mormonism or Judaism – just an openness toward others’ spiritual choices.

Jordan still proudly wears his Christianity on his sleeve based on public comments. And he is grateful for the moral foundation and motivation his family’s faith provided. So while the basketball legend tends to keep exact details of his religious identity private, it is clear Christian beliefs molded Jordan’s character and remain important to him today.

In his values, perspective on life, and worldview, the imprint of Christianity is unmistakable. Whatever form his faith takes currently, it is an essential part of who Jordan is.

FAQs About Michael Jordan’s Religion

Does Michael Jordan believe in Jesus Christ?

Though he avoids doctrinal specifics, Jordan has made comments referencing his belief in Jesus and God that point to a traditional Christian perspective. When thanking “God” for blessings, he seems to be referring to the Christian divine figure.

What church did Michael Jordan attend as a child?

Jordan has not stated definitively what denomination or local church he attended growing up in North Carolina. However, comments from his parents point to Baptist and other mainstream Protestant churches his family actively participated in.

What religious rituals does Michael Jordan practice?

While less overtly religious now, Jordan has said he still prays on occasion and tries to study spiritual matters when he can. He mentions faith providing comfort during hard times, indicating he still cultivates Christian practices personally.

Did Michael Jordan wear a crucifix during games?

Early in his career, Jordan did often wear a gold necklace with a crucifix and “PC” engraved on it. But this was a personal gift from a Catholic priest in Chicago, not a reflection that Jordan identified as Catholic. He saw it as a good luck charm.

Does Michael Jordan read the Bible?

Jordan has not explicitly stated he regularly reads the Bible. However, given his Christian background, it is very possible Jordan is familiar with the Bible and still studies it among other spiritual works. But he does not reference specific biblical knowledge when discussing his faith.

Is Michael Jordan vocal about his religious beliefs?

While open about his spiritual outlook when asked, Jordan tends to keep the specifics of his faith private. He rarely proactively brings up religion unprompted. Jordan seems to view religious expression as a personal matter not to flaunt publicly as a celebrity.

What Christian perspectives has Michael Jordan shared?

In interviews where faith comes up, Jordan often speaks about God blessing people with talents, the importance of living by morals, believing in treating all people equally, and overcoming adversity through spiritual strength. These viewpoints generally align with Christian principles.

Does Michael Jordan financially support religious institutions?

There is little public information on Jordan making major donations to churches or faith groups. However, given his Christian background, it would not be surprising if he contributes to churches or parachurch organizations privately through his philanthropic channels.

Has Michael Jordan discussed religion recently?

In the last decade, Jordan has been less vocal about his personal faith than earlier in his career. He rarely participates in interviews focused on religion. But when faith does come up, Jordan still happily references his spiritual outlook shaped by Christianity.

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