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It’s an old story, but we want to tell you about MJ and his relationship with golf.

A San Diego businessman claimed he and Michael Jordan were out-of-control compulsive gamblers who wagered more than $1 million on their golf games.

"Our matches frequently came down to $100,000 putts with occasional swings of upwards of a quarter-million dollars," Richard Esquinas wrote as co-author of the book, "Michael & Me: Our Gambling Addiction ... My Cry For Help!"

"Personally, I felt I was a controlled gambler until Michael and I went berserk in one period of approximately 10 days in September 1991, when I went from potentially more than $200,000 in debt to $1.25 million ahead."

Esquinas claims Jordan fell $626,000 in debt in their golf wagers, then doubled the bet and lost again. The $1.252 million debt eventually was reduced to $902,000 by still more golf wagers last year.

Esquinas also said he settled for $300,000 because he was convinced Jordan would not pay him the entire amount. Esquinas said he had received two checks for a total of $200,000, with the third and final payment due a few months after.

Jordan's agent, Falk Associates, had no comment today on the reports. Ted Ewanciw, who handles Jordan's account, said it is company policy not to discuss Jordan's personal life.

However, Nike, the company with which Jordan has a multimillion-dollar contract, lashed out at the superstar's critics.

"It's so out of proportion here," said Dusty Kidd, Nike's manager of public relations. "Jordan is a great athlete and a great human being who is being attacked by people who are using him to get publicity. ... I'm not buying into it and I don't think anybody else should, either.

"You've got to think, what's the motivation here?"

Bulls General Manager Jerry Krause said he has no first-hand knowledge of the allegations, adding, "Michael's private business is Michael's private business."

Esquinas said he reported $500,000 in income on his 1992 tax returns, including $125,000 in gambling winnings from Jordan. "I'm his No. 1 opponent on the golf course," he said.

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