From baseball diamonds and golf courses to slam dunks on the basketball court, Michael Jordan is a man of many talents and has conquered every element. And now, he has a new element to add: water.
Air Jordan has been out on the sea, dukin’ it out during the 62nd Annual Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City, North Carolina, close to where Jordan grew up.
"It’s been a while since I have been to Morehead City,” Jordan said during an interview. “It’s only about 100 miles from (where I grew up in) Wilmington. It’s always great to be able to come back and see some friends.”
The competition brings $3.4 million in prize money for the angler who brings in the largest fish.
His Airness and the crew of his 80-foot fishing boat hauled in the 442.3-pound marlin aboard his boat named “Catch 23.” Seems fitting, right?
Jordan looked on with smiles as the boat docked and workers hoisted the fish to be weighed on shore.
The owner of the Charlotte Hornets later posed for pictures with the rest of his crew alongside the marlin as onlookers cheered and asked for autographs.
The tournament showcased his catch on Facebook with the caption:
“Excitement was in the AIR when Michael Jordan’s CATCH 23 backed in with their 442.3-pound blue marlin! 🎣🏀”
Jordan is no stranger to fishing tourneys. In 2019, he participated in the White Marlin Open.
After snagging the monster fish, Jordan did a post catch interview in which he said he hopes to get back out on the water and bring back a bigger fish.
“I would love to be back with a little bit bigger fish,” Jordan said. “Even though I didn’t win, right now, today, I’d like to thank everyone for supporting the tournament."
Crystal Hesmer, the tournament's executive director, said the atmosphere on shore was “electric” when Jordan's boat, which included Tar Heel blue colors on the side, pulled into the dock to unload the marlin to be weighed.
“Oh my gosh, for Michael Jordan to be in our same air space is exciting and thrilling enough, but for him to land a fish at our tournament and bring it in is thrilling for the entire town," Hesmer told The Associated Press by telephone. “It’s unbelievable that he’s here in our little town.”
Sadly, Jordan’s catch wasn’t large enough to place him in the tournaments top 5.
Jordan’s boat had been in fifth place until a boat came in with a 450-pound blue marlin.
Gene Olmo is currently leading the charge after catching a 494.2-pound marlin on the first day of fishing.
The tournament pays out for the three largest blue marlins boated with the winner taking home $1.1 million for the largest fish.
There is also a $550,000 prize for the first boat to land a 500-pound blue marlin.
The nonprofit fishing tournament runs through Saturday and is the largest and oldest sport fishing tournaments in the country.
“The Big Rock Tournament dates back to 1957 as the premier sportfishing tournament on the Eastern Coast of the United States,” officials said.
The competition goes until June 13, so MJ still has some time to get back out on the water and reel in a bigger fish.
The Associated Press contributed to this story