History | Early
Years | NBA
Career | Honors and Awards
Michael Jordan is widely regarded as
the best basketball player of all time. He has also been one the most
recognized and marketed athlete ever. After a standout career at Emsley
A. Laney High in Wilmington, NC, where Jordan was a Mcdonald's All
American, he played at North Carolina under Dean Smith. He made the
game winning shot for North Carolina in the title game against
Georgetown as a freshman in 1982. Jordan left North Carolina after his
junior season to enter the NBA draft. He was selected with the third
overall pick by the Chicago Bulls. Once in the NBA Jordan quickly
emerged as one of the stars of the league with his high flying dunks.
Jordan was also one of the best defensive players in the league. He won
his first NBA Championship in 1991. He followed that up by winning the
NBA title in 1992 and 1993. Unexpectedly, Jordan left the NBA after the
1993 season to pursue a career in baseball. Jordan rejoined the Bulls
in 1995 and led them to three more NBA Championship titles. Jordan
retired for a second time in 1999, but again returned in 2001 with the
Jordan retired for the final time
after the 2003 season. Jordan received numerous achievements and awards
during his NBA career. He was named MVP 5 times, named ALL-NBA first
team 10 times, named All Defensive first team 9 times, and made 14 All
Star game appearances. His career scoring average of 30.12 points per
game is currently the highest career average of anyone that played in
the NBA. Jordan was also one of the most marketed athletes ever. He was
behind the success of his Air Jordan Sneakers, which were introduced in
1985 and are extremely popular today. He currently serves as part owner
and Managing Member of Basketball Operations for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Back to Top
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn,
York to Deloris and James Jordan Sr. The family moved to Wilmington, NC
when Jordan was just a toddler. He attended Emsley A. Laney High School
in Wilmington where he began his ascension into athletic greatness. He
played football, baseball, and basketball for Laney High. In what is
now very famous to everyone is the story of Michael being cut from the
varsity basketball team. At 5'11" he was regarded to be too short to
play for the varsity team, so he was cut from the team. The following
year, Michael grew four inches and trained very hard to be a part of
the team. Jordan made the team his junior year where he averaged 21
points per game. In Michael's senior season he averaged 29.2 points,
11.6 rebounds and 10.1 assists. He was selected to the McDonald's All
American team. This is a very big honor, especially for someone who was
cut from their team only two years prior.
Dean Smith, the head basketball coach at
North Carolina took notice of Michael in high school and offered him a
scholarship to play at North Carolina. Michael averaged 13.4 points per
game during his freshman season, as he earned the ACC Freshman of the
Year award. Also in his freshman season Michael made the game winning
jump shot in the NCAA Championship game against Georgetown. Jordan
later said that this shot was a major turning point in his basketball
career. Jordan averaged 17.7 points per game and 5 rebounds per game
during his three years at North Carolina. Jordan won the Naismith and
Wooden College Player of the Year Awards his junior season. Not
surprisingly Jordan announced after his junior season that he would
forego his senior season and enter the NBA draft. He was selected by
the Chicago Bulls with the third overall pick. Michael returned to
North Carolina in 1986 to complete his degree.
Back to Top
Playing for the Bulls his rookie season
Michael quickly became a fan favorite in the NBA. He even became a fan
favorite in opposing arenas. Just over a month into his professional
career he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the heading
"A Star is Born." He was voted as a starter for the All Star game by
the fans. Several veteran players were not happy with all the attention
that Michael was receiving during his rookie season. He went on to
average 28.2 points per game during his rookie season. In Michael's
second season he broke his foot and missed 64 games. He recovered in
time to play in the playoffs that season and made NBA history. In game
2 against the Celtics he scored 63 points, which is still a playoff
record. Despite Jordan's fantastic play the Celtics swept the Bulls out
of the playoffs. Michael enjoyed one of the best seasons in NBA history
in his third campaign. He averaged 37.1 points per game, and joined
Wilt Chamberlain as the only players ever to score more than 3000
points in a season. That season he was also the first player to have at
least 200 steals and 100 blocks. The Bulls again made the playoffs, but
again were swept by the Celtics.
In Jordan's fourth season he averaged 35
points per game and was named MVP of the league. He also was named
Defensive Player of the Year. For the first time in his career, he made
it out of the first round of the playoffs, as the Bulls defeated the
Cavaliers in 5 games. But the Bulls were sent home in the next playoff
round by the Detroit Pistons who had earned the nickname "Bad Boys",
due to ther physical play. In Jordan's fourth season he once again led
the league in scoring at 32.5 points per game. Showing his all around
play he also averaged 8 rebounds and 8 assists per game. In these
playoffs Jordan made the memorable last second game winning shot
against the Cleveland Cavaliers. This shot has been replayed numerous
times on many media outlets. But the Bulls ran into the roadblock again
known as the Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Pistons
constantly double and triple teamed Jordan. For the second year in a
row the Pistons ended the Bulls season. In Jordan's fifth season the
Bulls were prepared to make a run at the Championship. Jordan had
finally recevied a good supporting cast with Scottie Pippen and Horace
Grant. Jrdan again led the league in scoring at 33.6 points per game.
The Bulls posted a 55-27 record, the best in Jordan's stint with the
team. The Bulls entered the Eastern Conference Finals again to sqaure
off with the Pistons. The Bulls pushed the series to seven games but
lost to the Pistons for the third year in a row.
Michael won his 2nd MVP after the
1990-91 season in which he averaged 31.5 points per game. For the first
time in 16 years the Bulls finished first in their division. Their 61
set a franchise record. Once
again the Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the
Pistons. This series had a much different ending than in previous
years. The Bulls swept the Pistons in four games, which would put the
Bulls into the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. In game 2 of
the series Jordan went up for a dunk, but at the last second switched
the ball to his other hand in mid air to make the shot. It is one of
the best plays in NBA History. The Bulls went on to win the series 4
games to 1, giving Jordan his first NBA title. The next season the
Bulls set a new franchsie record with 67 wins. Jordan also won his
third MVP. The Bulls once again made it to the Finals where they faced
the Portland Trailblazers. This series was hyped as Michael "Air"
Jordan vs. Clyde "The Glide" Drexler. The Bulls defeated the Blazers in
4 games to 2. The following season the Bulls competed a three-peat as
they defeated the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. In a very surprising
move, Jordan announced his retirement before the next season.
Jordan surprised everyone by signing a
contract with the Chicago White Sox. He was assigned to play for the
Birmingham Barons, the White Sox AA affiliate. Jordan only batted .202
for the Barons in his brief stint in baseball. On March 18, Jordan
uttered two very famous words announcing his return to the NBA. He
simply stated "I'm back." Jordan's first game back was against the
Indianapolis Pacers and had the highest Nielsen Rating of any regular
season NBA game since 1975. Aided by Jordan's return the Bulls made the
playoffs, and advanced to the Eastern Confernce Semi-Finals to
face the Orlando Magic. Orlando defeated the Bulls in 6 games.
With the playoff defeat the previous
year to the Orlando Magic fresh in his mind, Jordan trained
aggressively for the next season. The Bulls set a record for the most
wins ever in an NBA season by winning 72 games. A truly astonishing
feat. Jordan averaged 30.4 ppg and was once again named league MVP. The
Bulls went on to beat the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA Finals. Jordan
was named MVP of the Finals for a recors fourth time. The next season
saw the Bulls lose their last two games to narrowly miss out on
consecutive 70 win seasons. They finished 69-13. Karl Malone of the
Utah Jazz was chosen over Jordan as MVP. Jordan upstaged Malone in the
NBA Finals that year with the Bulls beating the Jazz in 6 games for
their second consecutive championship. Jordan received his fifth Finals
MVP Award. In the 97-98 season the Bulls compiled a 62-20 record. once
again Jordan led the league in scoring with 28.7 ppg and won his fifth
MVP award. The Bulls would again face the Jazz in the NBA Finals. In
game 6 Jordan made one of the mst memorable plays in Finals history.
Jordan, who was being guarded by byron Russell, dribbled right then
came back left and made the shot that would win the series for the
Bulls. Jordan once again received the Finals MVP, his sixth.
The shot to win the series versus the
Jazz seemed to be a perfect way for Jordan to end his career. Jordan
retired for the second time on January 13, 1999. The next January
Jordan returned to the NBA as part owner and President of Basketball
Operations for the Washington Wizards. Jordan was not quite as
successful in his management role as he was on the court.
Jordan's used the first pick in that year's draft on high schooler
Kwame Brown. Brown never lived up to expectations and was traded after
four lackluster seasons. In the spring and summer of 2001 Jordan spent
much of his time training for another comeback. Not with the Chicago
Bulls, but with the Washington Wizards. Jordan announced his return to
play in the NBA on September 25, 2001.
Jordan's first season back ended after
60 games due to torn cartilage in his right knee. He did lead the team
in scoring at 22.9 ppg. In the next, and Jordan's last season, he
passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all time leader in scoring in the All
Star game. Jordan averaged 20 points ppg in his last season. Tributes
were paid to Jordan in nearly every venue he played in that season.
Jordan's final game was on April 16, 2003 in Philadelphia. Jordan came
to the bench with 4:13 seconds remaining in the third quarter. The
crowd in Philadelphia began chanting "We want Mike" at the beginning of
the fourth quarter. Jordan came into the game with 2:35 remaining.
Jordan was fouled intentionally and went to the free throw line, where
he made both free throws. He came out of the game at this point to a
three miinute standing ovation from everyone in the arena. Jordan left
this game arguably as the best player to ever play in the NBA.
Back to Top
Honors and Awards
Back to Top
- Mcdonald's All American.
- ACC Freshman of the Year.
- ACC Men's Basketball Player of the Year.
- Naismith College Player of the Year.
- John R. Wooden Award.
- Adolph Rupp Trophy.
- Won NCAA Championship
- 2 Olympic Gold Medals.
- NBA Rookie of the Year.
- 5 time NBA MVP.
- 6 time NBA Finals MVP.
- 10 times led NBA in scoring.
- All NBA First Team 10 times.
- Named All Star 14 times.
- All Star Game MVP 3 times.
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
- NBA All Defensive Team 9 times.
- Third on NBA All time scoring list.
- Second most steals all time.
- 2 time NBA slam dunk champion.
- The Sporting news MVP 7 times.
- Sports Illustrated "Sportsman of the Year".
- ESPN North American Athlete of the Century.
- ESPY Athlete of the Century.
- ESPY Male Athlete of the Decade Award.
- ESPY Pro Basketballer of the Decade Award.
- Ranked #1 by SLAM Magazine's Top 75 Players of All-Time.
- Ranked #1 by ESPN Sportscentury's Top 100 Athletes of the 20th