Derek Jeter shares his honest opinion of Michael Jordan's short-lived baseball career

Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter
Michael Jordan and Derek Jeter

On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN chopped it up with former Major League Baseball player and businessman Derek Jeter to discuss his years in the MLB, owning a stake in the Miami Marlins, and his Hall of Fame induction, to name a few topics.

Born in Pequannock, New Jersey, Jeter received his big break when he was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1992. The renowned shortstop played for the team for a total of 20 years. During that time, he won four World Series — in 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2009 — and became one of the most celebrated players on the team. Jeter was named captain in 2003 and by the time the former player retired in 2014, he had amassed 3,465 hits, which landed him in sixth place in Major League Baseball history. Among his many on-field accomplishments, Jeter also won 14 MLB All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, and five Silver Slugger Awards.

Following his retirement from baseball, Jeter proved to be a fantastic businessman. Shortly after his athletic reign, he launched The Players’ Tribune, a platform that would allow professional players to communicate with their fans directly. Since then, the news media organization has expanded greatly, presently offering a wide variety of content, including podcasts, films, player polls, and articles authored by NFL and NHL pros. Fast forward to 2017, Jeter and Bruce Sherman partnered up to complete a deal to buy the Miami Marlins. In exchange, Jeter received a four percent ownership share in the business, which he later relinquished after he departed from the team in February 2022.

Earlier this year, the champ entered the activewear industry with the launch of his company Greatness Wins, which introduced a wide range of apparel for men with plans to debut womenswear in the coming months. Moreover, the legendary shortstop partnered with LegalZoom creator Brian Lee to co-found Arena Club in September.

To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine facts we learned from the Derek Jeter interview. Check them out below and watch the full episode here.

1. On always playing shortstop

During his 20 years in Major League Baseball, Jeter distinguished himself as one of the best shortstops in the history of the sport. Although it was commonly believed that he would leave the taxing position, as did many other outstanding shortstops, he stayed for the duration of his career. “Always shortstop. My dad was a shortstop,” he said, kicking off the interview.

Jeter added, “I was completely overmatched… Completely overmatched, but that’s when you bounce back.  You gotta learn from your failures and you gotta try to look at the bright side.”

2. On the 1998 World Series game between the New York Yankees and San Diego Padres 

The New York Yankees and San Diego Padres faced off in the 1998 World Series. The Yankees won in four games after sweeping the opposition, earning their 24th overall title and second in three years. Notably, Jeter batted a .353 average with six home runs and three strikeouts.

“We were 125-50 counting post-season. It was just one of those years where — it’s tough to compare eras, whether it’s in music or sports, but I would put that team up against any team in history,” he explained.

3. On launching his sports apparel line, Greatness Wins

Greatness Wins was introduced earlier this year by Jeter, Chris Riccobono, ballet dancer Misty Copeland, and hockey star Wayne Gretzky. The brand, which markets itself as activewear for the “modern athlete,” recently unveiled its first collection with more on the horizon. While talking about the company, the baseball champ explained why he felt the need to enter the sportswear market.

“We just launched a couple of months ago and it’s built on performance. Performance first. I think that’s what’s most important: Comfort, consistency, quality, and fit. I’m extremely excited,” Jeter shared. He later added, “We have a women’s line coming out next year. The great and compatible Misty Copeland led that design. I’m excited about it. I hope everyone else is excited about it as well.”

4. On going from being a player to an owner of the Miami Marlins 

In September 2017, Jeter joined Bruce Sherman’s Private Capital Management in acquiring the Miami Marlins from Jeffrey Loria for $1.2 billion. Jeter received a four percent ownership share in the team, which he managed day-to-day for four full seasons. However, his resignation as CEO and the sale of his shares were both announced in February. On “Drink Champs,” Jeter discussed being a baseball player versus being an owner.

Regarding his role as CEO of the Miami Marlins, the businessman said, “I wanted to acquire a team that was close to home and it just so happened that Miami came up. So, I put together an ownership group and we purchased the team.” He went on to explain, “It’s a new franchise with a checkered past. They have a history of they’ve won a few times and getting rid of everyone. We came in and made changes. I look at it as a challenge.”

5. On ESPN’s “The Captain” documenting his historic career

This year saw the release of the sports docuseries “The Captain” on ESPN, which focused on Jeter’s life and career during his heyday. The seven-episode offering, directed by Randy Wilkins, delves into subjects such as his multiracial origins, feud with Alex Rodriguez, and retirement from baseball. On “Drink Champs,” Jeter said that he was against making a documentary at first and just wanted to record his induction into the Hall of Fame, but that he is glad he did it anyway.

“Initially, I said, ‘Absolutely not.’ I wanted to film the potential Hall of Fame call that I would get and then film the ceremony, so I could share it with my girls. I have three now, but I had two at the time, and then it turned into, ‘Why don’t we do a larger project around your career?’ I said, ‘I ain’t doing it.’ I’ve said this before, but once you let the toothpaste out of the tube, you can’t put it back in.”

6. On Alex Rodriguez’s 2001 comments and how it affected their relationship

Before the controversial 2001 interview that Rodriguez gave to Esquire, in which he said Jeter “never had to lead” amongst other comments, the fellow baseball stars were extremely close. Today, the two seem to have restored their friendship with Rodriguez starring in “The Captain.”

When asked about the infamous interview, Jeter told N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN, “Everyone made such a big deal out of our relationship because of things that were said in the media. This was 20 years ago pretty much. That’s why in the documentary, I wanted people to know how I felt at the time. A lot of things in life have happened since then. It’s over. I don’t feel that way anymore.” He continued, “I’m like, ‘Where’s this coming from?’ But once again, we were 20-something years old. Now, it’s, ‘I don’t care.’ I just did his show in New York recently.”

7. On being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

Jeter was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2021 alongside the likes of Larry Walker, Ted Simmons, and Marvin Miller. Having been the sixth pick in the 1992 MLB draft, it was a full-circle moment for the baseball icon. When asked about his induction, he said it was an emotional experience.

“I don’t know who [the reporter] is but first of all, I don’t care. It’s tough to get that many people to agree on anything in life, and who am I to say everyone should’ve voted for me,” Jeter shared regarding the voting process. “The only issue that I have is as an athlete, reporters expect you to be accountable. They expect you to sit there and answer questions about how you performed. And now I have to answer questions about whoever this one individual is for the past few years. I have to answer the question. He or she should be the one answering the question of why they didn’t vote for me.”

8. On whether or not Michael Jordan was good at baseball 

Michael Jordan’s choice to quit the NBA at the pinnacle of his career to play professional baseball remains a mystery to most. However, after finishing spring training with the Chicago White Sox, he was drafted by the Birmingham Barons at the Double-A level in 1994. According to Jeter, Jordan could’ve made it to the major leagues had he continued to play.

Regarding the legend’s baseball career, Jeter said, “Michael Jordan played baseball in Little League and then the next time he played, he’s playing in Double-A baseball… The biggest jump is from A to Double-A. If you can play in Double-A baseball, at some point, you can play in the major leagues.”

9. On waiting to have children until after he left the league

In December, Jeter and his wife welcomed their third daughter. He had his first, Bella Raine, in August 2017 and his second, Story Grey, in January 2019. When asked by N.O.R.E. if he waited until his career was over, the champ shared that he simply hadn’t found the right woman to marry until he retired. “Purposely waited? I didn’t meet the right woman,” he explained.

“I’ve always had a great deal of admiration and somewhat — I don’t want to say jealousy because you’re not jealous of other people — but people brought their kids in the clubhouse and on the field. I just knew that I was way too selfish during my career. It was all about me and it wouldn’t be fair to my significant other or kids,” the baseball icon revealed.