Why Michael Jordan Should Donate His House to Charity (Yes Really)

Michael Jordan Admad Rashad
Michael Jordan's estate is a white elephant, a huge drain on his wealth. Real estate donation may just be the perfect solution.

Michael Jordan’s Chicago home has been on the market for 10 years. You’d think the big name alone would be a strong selling point, yet the 56,000-square-foot, 7-acre compound just sits there, unoccupied. We would like to lay out the case for why Michael Jordan should donate this Highland Park mansion—preferably to Kars4Kids, of course.

Jordan has been trying to sell the Take a tour of Michael Jordan’s Chicago mansion that’s been on the housed since 2012. When no buyers bit, Jordan halved the price and threw every edition of Air Jordans, ever made, in the owner’s size, of course. Some experts think it’s precisely because the house so clearly has Jordan’s stamp on it, that the house won’t sell. “It’s clearly his home,” said Bruce Bowers of Bowers Realty Group. “There’s a lot of work that would have to be done to make it your own.”

After having been reduced a number of times, the massive home can now be yours (we know, we know—in your dreams) for $14.9 million, approximately $265 per square foot, way down from the original $517 per square foot. As of this moment, the house can be bought for $14,855,000, and when you add up the individual numbers, it comes to 23: the number on Michael Jordan’s basketball shirt.

The Amenities

The plentiful and luxurious amenities of this wonderland of a property include:

  1. Full-grown trees lining the drive from the gate to the home, for complete privacy
  2. A tennis court
  3. An infinity pool with a grass island at the center of a large patio
  4. A putting green with Jordan Brand flag sticks
  5. A fully-stocked fish pond
  6. A piano room
  7. A set of doors from the original Chicago Playboy Mansion
  8. A game room complete with pool table
  9. A full-court basketball court stamped with Jordan’s name on either end, the Jumpman logo, and the names of his children.
  10. A dining room tabletop with a grid modeled on a street map of Baghdad
  11. A skylight centered over the kitchen table
  12. An outsized built-in wall aquarium in one of the dining areas
  13. Nine bedrooms
  14. Nineteen bathrooms
  15. A cigar room with card tables convenient for playing poker
  16. A full gym which, for a long time, Jordan’s teammates used each morning for workouts.
  17. Another luxurious part of Jordan’s estate is the expansive wine cellar.
  18. A large wine cellar
  19. A library with drop-down movie screen
  20. A TV room where you can watch television on a 110-inch screen
  21. Sliding walls that provide a choice between indoor and outdoor entertainment at parties, or in case of inclement weather
  22. A television in just about every room
  23. A three-bedroom guest house complete with family room and kitchen

The house is also furnished.

Marketing the Michael Jordan Estate—Some History

In 2013, Jordan, who lived in the house for 19 years, attempted to auction off the house, but no one met the specified minimum bid of $13 million. Jordan even tried marketing the house in China, where basketball is apparently a big deal. The Air Jordans previously mentioned were offered in 2015, but the offer drew no buyers.

You might think that the cachet of Jordan’s celebrity status supplies added value to the property. While that may be true, experts say that all the custom features created especially for the basketball superstar make the home unsellable. Then there’s that the home is not situated in an area popular with his target market: the wealthy. In its favor, the fully-staffed estate has been well-maintained all these years.

Michael Jordan cannot sell his house. Why then, should he give it away to charity? In fact, there are many reasons, but one of the main reasons is that this “asset” has long had a negative value. Jordan is losing a lot of money. He’s rich, of course. But even for the wealthy, it makes no sense to throw away large sums of money. That’s the reason donation makes eminent sense after 10 years (!) of footing the bill for this enormous estate.

Property Taxes and Other Expenses

What kind of expenses are we talking about?

Property taxes: Alone, Michael Jordan’s yearly taxes on the property come to over $130,000. According to Zillow, Jordan has paid more than $2.5 million in property taxes since the house was put on the market, in 2012. Jordan may be worth $1.9 billion dollars, but he can stop the unnecessary drain on his holdings through donation.

Maintenance: Keeping the house and its grounds in tip-top marketing shape requires full-time staff. Staff need salaries. That means ten years of paying out salaries to keep up an empty house that will not sell.

Utilities: Employing full-time staff means paying for utilities, as you can’t leave the staff without say, electricity and water. That adds up to a huge sum that would not be flowing out of Jordan’s bank account were he to sell the property. But since he can’t, he might as well offload his estate to charity and stop the endless flow.

Benefits of Real Estate Donation

Closing the money faucet would be nice, of course. But there are other benefits to donating property, both financial and otherwise. Any one of these benefits might serve as a logical incentive for donation.

Tax Savings: Unique properties can be hard to sell, as in the case with the Michael Jordan Chicago estate. The longer a house languishes on the market, the greater the cumulative costs. In real estate donation, on the other hand, the full Fair Market Value of the home is deducted from the donor’s taxable income. This is not the only tax savings benefit to real estate donation. Property donation would also mean no Capital Gains tax on Jordan’s appreciated property.

No Broker’s Commission: Most agents take a 4-6% commission on the sales price of the home as payment for facilitating the transaction. This cut takes a big bite out of the proceeds the seller, in this case Michael Jordan, would otherwise receive.

Helping Others: Aside from financial savings and a sizeable tax deduction, charity is good for the heart and soul. Which brings us to our main point: With real estate donation, Michael Jordan’s house would not only cease to be an ongoing financial liability for the basketball celebrity, but would allow him to support a cause that’s close his heart. In the case of the Kars4Kids real estate donation program, the party that benefits, is children.

We Share a Mission: Helping Children

Michael Jordan already supports many charitable organizations that benefit children and their families, including the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Uncf/College Fund, and the Special Olympics. Kids are clearly important to Michael Jordan—as they are to us. We feel certain that Michael Jordan shares our mission of providing mentorship and education to children.

And that’s why we think Michael Jordan should donate his Highland Park home to charity.



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