In Chicago Wednesday for an appearance with fellow U.S. team members on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Phelps said he has been a longtime admirer of Jordan because of the way Jordan changed basketball, The Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Phelps announced he plans to devote part of the $1 million bonus he received from Speedo to a foundation aimed at expanding swimming.
"I'm trying to really grow the sport of swimming and take it to a new level," the 23-year-old Phelps said. "What (Jordan) did for the sport of basketball, hopefully I can learn from him a little bit and take what he did and put it into swimming."
Phelps, who won a record eight gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, said swimming has brought him mental health in addition to financial wealth.