ATLANTA — Basketball hall of famer Michael Jordan asked a Georgia court Monday to dismiss a paternity suit against him, calling it a “shameless, bad faith attempt to abuse the legal system.”
Jordan’s lawyer John Mayoue said in a document filed in Fulton County Superior Court that the six-time NBA champion is not the father of Pamela Y. Smith’s 16-year-old son. The paternity of the teen was “conclusively established” in divorce filings between Smith and her ex-husband, Mayoue wrote.
Jordan, 50, is the majority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats.
His spokeswoman, Estee Portnoy, released a statement to The Associated Press: “Public records show that the paternity of the child was established in a prior case in this same court many years ago and that Michael Jordan is not the father. He also filed a counterclaim seeking sanctions for the false claims made against him.”
Jordan’s lawyer attached a 2003 divorce court filing between Smith and Glenville G. Reynolds that said the marriage produced one child and listed the boy’s birth date and name. At the end of the document, there is a statement signed by Smith saying everything is “true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief.”
The filing said Smith will have legal and physical custody of the child and Reynolds can have visitation. Reynolds was expected to pay child support for the child.
A telephone listed for Reynolds was disconnected. Smith’s publicist did not immediately have a comment on Jordan’s filing.
Smith’s lawsuit requests Jordan take a paternity test; pay child support; and share medical, dental and hospital costs not covered by insurance. She also requested that the boy’s last name be changed to Jordan, and asked a judge to order the Georgia Department of Vital Records to issue a new birth certificate.
Not much evidence is needed for a judge to compel someone in Georgia to submit to a paternity test, said Randy Kessler, an Atlanta attorney who specializes in family law and is not involved in this case. However, in a case with an established father, it is more difficult because his rights would be affected, Kessler said.
The lawsuit requests that any hearing or trial be conducted in closed court to protect the teen’s privacy. However, Smith’s publicist acknowledged the teen posted a video to YouTube on Dec. 25, saying Jordan is his father and that he wants him to play a larger role in his life.
A court date is scheduled for March 12.
Jordan remains one of the most recognized sports figures in the world nearly 10 years after his retirement from the NBA. He was a 14-time NBA all-star and won six championships with the Chicago Bulls and was named the finals MVP six times.
On March 17, 2010, the NBA Board of Governors unanimously approved Jordan’s purchase of the Bobcats, making him the first former NBA player ever to become the majority owner of a league franchise.