Michael Jordan is one of the most recognizable figures in the world today. A global icon, Jordan can't seem to avoid the fanfare and paparazzi regardless of where he goes. This is probably why MJ lives such a secluded and private life. But he used to have some more innovative measures to avoid being spotted and subsequently hounded by his adoring public.
In 1988, Jordan did an interview with Roy Firestone. In the interview, Jordan spoke about going to a mall in St. Louis with some of his Bulls teammates. At that point, Jordan was a global phenomenon, coming off one of his best seasons, where he had won the MVP, Defensive Player Of The Year, and the scoring title.
Jordan spoke about how he disguised himself in order to avoid being recognized. It was a simple disguise, but it proved effective as no one recognized him. But eventually, upon spotting Jordan with his 7'0 teammate, fans assumed that they were basketball players, and stared at Jordan before realizing it was 'His Airness' in disguise (0:49 mark).
“I had shades, I turned my hat backward and how I wore the shorts and pants and stuff and look just kind of awkward. (It worked for) about an hour and 15 minutes. A couple of my teammates were with me, but what gave it away was I was walking with Brad Sellers, and he was seven feet, and everybody sees a seven-foot guy they’re gonna say well he plays basketball, and then they kind of stared at me and that gives it away.”
Jordan was too famous at the time. And while his disguise may have worked for a little bit, he was eventually made. Such was the fanfare around Jordan. People would line up for hours in terrible weather just to get a glimpse of Jordan. And that is still true to this day.
Jordan will attract this kind of attention wherever he goes. He is an icon, and one of the biggest legends in sports history. But it is clear that Jordan wants his privacy, and does everything in his power to be able to avoid being spotted. Jordan's private lifestyle is completely understandable, given how popular he is.