In 1993, James Jordan was the victim of a shooting on the side of a North Carolina highway. The men who killed Michael Jordan’s father are currently serving life sentences for their roles in the crime. In 2020, though, Larry Demery was on track to be free on parole. However, North Carolina state officials announced that they terminated the agreement with Demery.
The death of James Jordan
In July 1993, Michael Jordan was fresh off accomplishing the first of two NBA Championship three-peats in his career. He also finished with his seventh straight NBA scoring title that year. However, Jordan’s father had gone missing later that Summer. Two weeks later a fisherman discovered his body in a lake.
The death of his father left an immediate heavy impact on Michael Jordan. Two months after, he retired from the NBA for the first time, sending shockwaves worldwide.
In an interview with the New York Times in 1994, MJ spoke about his father’s posthumous influence. At the time, Jordan played AA minor-league baseball for the Birmingham Barons.
“I talk to him more in the subconscious than actual words. ‘Keep doing what you’re doing,’ he’d tell me. ‘Keep trying to make it happen. You can’t be afraid to fail. Don’t give a damn about the media.’ Then he’d say something funny — or recall something about when I was a boy, when we’d be in the backyard playing catch together like we did all the time.”Michael Jordan
Furthermore, Jordan reminisced on how his father gave him the idea to retire from the NBA and make a run at professional baseball. MJ retired on top of the NBA world. Afterward, he wanted to give his shot to become a multi-sport athlete, famously achieved by Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders.
“It began as my father’s idea. We had seen Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders try two sports and my father had said that he felt I could have made it in baseball, too. He said, ‘You’ve got the skills.’ He thought I had proved everything I could in basketball, and that I might want to give baseball a shot. I told him, ‘No, I haven’t done everything. I haven’t won a championship.’ Then I won it, and we talked about baseball on occasion, and then we won two more championships. And then he was killed.”Michael Jordan
Undoubtedly, the death of James Jordan played a huge factor in his son’s decision-making with his career. Now, almost 30 years later, his death is still making headlines. Nowadays, the men who killed Michael Jordan’s father are making attempts toward their freedom from life sentences.
The fate of the killers
Daniel Green and Larry Demery were both teenagers when they coordinated in the murder-robbery of James Jordan. In 1995, Demery pleaded guilty and testified against Green, claiming that Green pulled the trigger, not him. The men who killed Michael Jordan’s father each received life-sentences-and-then-some for their involvement.
Demery became eligible for a shot at parole after being resentenced in 2008 and re-assessed his life sentence. In 2020, North Carolina representatives declared that Demery would be released on parole in 2023 (later pushed to 2024). His release came through his attendance in a program designed to help prepare him for life beyond prison after spending nearly 30 years behind bars.
However, news broke that Demery’s parole agreement was terminated with no given reason on December 28, 2021. Also, Demery could have another attempt at parole as soon as December 2023. Demery currently has 19 infractions on his record while in a minimum-security prison in Lincoln County.
Records indicate that he received two infractions for substance possession on December 2nd, 2021. It is unclear whether or not there is a connection between the infractions and the termination of his parole agreement.
As for Daniel Green, he has been unsuccessful in his attempts at parole. Green claims that he did not help with the killing of James Jordan but did aide Demery in dumping Jordan’s body in the lake. Judge Winston Gilchrist denied his most recent request for a new trial in 2019.