WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - A phone call about meeting a mystery celebrity led to a mom and her four children spending time with Michael Jordan.
The NBA legend who was raised in Wilmington and graduated from Laney High School wanted to meet a family benefiting from the American Red Cross after Jordan donated $1 million to the organization for Hurricane Florence relief in late September. Jordan was in Wilmington on Tuesday delivering Thanksgiving meals and visiting the Community Boys and Girls Club.
“I had no idea I was meeting Michael Jordan,” said Stephanie Parker.
The Parker family lost their apartment because of two feet of flooding from Hurricane Florence. They spent more than two months in Red Cross shelters and thanks to the Red Cross and other organizations, are now are living in a hotel while searching for permanent housing.
Parker's meeting with Jordan started with a phone call from James Jarvis, director of the Cape Fear chapter of the American Red Cross.
“(Jarvis) flat out told me, ‘There’s a famous person that wants to meet you. ... and I can’t tell you who it is. Don’t ask who it is. Just want to know if you want to do that,'” said Parker. “And I’m like, ‘Yeah, no problem. Hey, why not?’”
Parker and her four kids gathered in the Lowe’s home improvement store parking lot Tuesday to meet with the unidentified famous person. The group was escorted to the store’s break room, where they waited patiently.
“I look around the corner, and it’s Michael Jordan. ‘Oh my God!’ I look at my kids, ‘It’s Michael Jordan!" Parker exclaimed. “I’m not going to lie, some tears came in my eyes, because the first thing that went through my mind was when I was younger, his last game when he was on the Chicago Bulls team, and that flashback just came right in my mind. I remember sitting in front of the TV screen watching this game, and I’m watching him making the winning shot and all.
“Never in a million years did I think I was going to meet Michael Jordan.”
Parker’s 8-year-old son, Taj, loves basketball and was ecstatic to meet the six-time NBA champion who also won an NCAA title at North Carolina.
“He was very down to earth," Parker said. “He spoke to all my children.”
The family took photos and spoke with Jordan for 10 minutes about their kids, basketball, and his monetary donation to the Red Cross.
“I was just in awe, like, I’m meeting Michael Jordan, personally. This is crazy," said Parker. “I want to thank the Red Cross for giving my family the opportunity to meet Michael Jordan, and I want to thank him for donating to the Red Cross.”