Michael Jordan

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Position: Shooting Guard
College: North Carolina
NBA draft: 1984, 1st round
3rd overall,
Chicago Bulls
Pro career: 15 seasons
Hall of Fame: TBA
(retired)

Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17 1963, in Brooklyn, New York) is an American former basketball player, who became a marketing phenomenon and is considered by many to be the greatest player of all time.

A remarkable force at both ends of the floor, "MJ" ended a career of 15 full seasons with a regular-season scoring average of 30.12 points per game, the highest in NBA history (ahead of Wilt Chamberlain's 30.06). He won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls, notched up 10 scoring titles, and was league MVP five times. He was named to the All-Defensive First Team nine times, and led the league in steals three times. Since 1983, he has appeared on the front cover of Sports Illustrated a record-49 times, and was named the magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" in 1991. In 1999, he was named "the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century" by ESPN, and placed #2 on the Associated Press list of top athletes of the century. His leaping ability, vividly illustrated by dunking from the foul line and other feats, earned him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness." These and other achievements have persuaded many that Jordan was the best to ever play the game.

Contents

Early years

Michael was born to James and Delores Jordan who moved from New York to Wilmington, North Carolina, when Michael was still a young child. Michael Jordan has two older brothers, one older sister, and one younger sister. He attended Emsley A. Laney High School, where he was a B+ student and a three-sport star in football (quarterback), baseball, and basketball.

Jordan earned a basketball scholarship with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in geography. As a freshman, Jordan was an exciting but not dominant player. Nonetheless, he made the winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Basketball Championship game against Georgetown, led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. He was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the 1984 NBA Draft as the 3rd pick overall.

NBA career: Overview

Jordan played 13 seasons for the Bulls, generally as a shooting guard, but his height of 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), skills, and physical conditioning also made him a versatile threat at point guard and small forward. He won six NBA Championships (1991-1993 and 1996-1998) and was league MVP five times (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1998). He was also named Rookie of the Year (1985) and Defensive Player of the Year (1988), and won the Finals MVP award every year the Bulls reached the Finals. He also earned the elusive MVP triple crown (regular season, finals, all-star game) twice in 1996 and 1998. Only Willis Reed (1970) and Shaquille O'Neal (2000) have won all three MVP awards in the same season. In 1997, he also recorded the only triple-double in an All-Star game.

File:MJDunks.jpg
Michael Jordan.

Jordan's coach for most of his career was Phil Jackson, who said:

"The thing about Michael is he takes nothing for granted. When he first came into the league in 1984, he was primarily a penetrator. His outside shooting wasn't up to professional standards. So he put in his gym time in the off-season, shooting hundreds of shots each day. Eventually, he became a deadly three-point shooter."

Early NBA Career

After a fairly disappointing first NBA game where he only scored 16 points, Jordan quickly took the league by storm in his rookie year, scoring 40 or more points 7 times en route to a 28.2 PPG season. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.4 steals per game in his rookie year. He revived interest in a floundering Bulls franchise and became one of the most popular players in the sport. His accomplishments lead to a spot on the All-Star team and the Rookie of the Year award.

In the 3rd game of the 1985-1986 NBA season, Jordan sustained a foot injury that would cause him to miss all but 18 regular season games. Upon his return, Jordan was restricted to a limited number of minutes per game by Coach Kevin Lougherty and General Manager Jerry Krause. This soured his relationship with Krause for the rest of his career. In spite of his injury, the Bulls still managed to make the playoffs, where they were defeated in three games by the eventual champion Boston Celtics. Although they were soundly defeated, the series is best remembered by the 63 point performance of Jordan in Game 2, setting an NBA playoff scoring record for a single game that still stands.

The following season established Jordan as one of the best players in the league. Jordan scored 50 or more points 8 times during the course of the regular season, won his first scoring title with a 37.1 PPG average, and became the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to score over 3,000 points in a single season. He finished as the runner up to Magic Johnson in the MVP voting. The playoffs ended as it had the year before, in a 3 game sweep to the Celtics.

File:MikeJordan.jpg
Jordan dunking in a slam dunk contest.

The Jordan Rules

In his fourth season, Jordan became arguably the best player in the game. Averaging 35 PPG, 5.5 RPG, and 5.9 APG, Jordan won his first MVP award and the Defensive Player of the Year award (garnering 259 steals and 131 blocks, an unusually high amount for a guard). He also won his second consecutive Slam Dunk contest, famously dunking from the free throw line to win the event, and the All-Star game MVP. The Bulls also got out of the first round for the first time in the Jordan era, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in 5 games (with Jordan averaging 45.2 PPG during the series) before losing in five games to the eventual Eastern Conference Champion Detroit Pistons in the 2nd round.

Jordan continued to perform great in the regular season, averaging 32.5 PPG, 8 RPG, and 8 APG in 1988-1989 and finishing 2nd in the MVP voting. He established himself as one of the great clutch performers in the NBA with his famous last second dagger over Craig Ehlo in Game 5 in the first round of the playoffs. The Bulls, fueled by the emergence of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant as starters, defeated the New York Knicks the Eastern Conference semi-finals, only to lose again to the Pistons in the Conference Finals.

The Pistons, with their punishing, physical play, established a gameplan for playing against Jordan dubbed "The Jordan Rules". The plan called for doubling and triple teaming Jordan every time he touched the ball, hammering him while he drove to the basket, and forcing him to rely on his inexperienced teammates instead of taking over games all by himself.

The rivalry between the Bulls and Pistons was taken to the next level in the 1989-1990 season, the first under Phil Jackson. Jordan averaged 33.6/6.9/6.3, finishing 3rd place in the MVP voting. The Bulls continued to improve with the development of Pippen and Grant, but again lost to the Pistons in 7 games in the Conference Finals.

The First 3-Peat

Michael Jordan, motivated by the narrow defeat to the Pistons, bought into the Jackson and assistant coach Tex Winter's triangle offense after years of resistance. He won his second MVP award, posting a 31.5/6.0/5.5 season. The Bulls finished in first place for the first time in 16 years. With Scottie Pippen becoming an All-Star, the Bulls proved too strong for their Eastern Conference competition. After sweeping the New York Knicks and beating the Philadelphia 76ers in five games, the Bulls finally conquered the Pistons, sweeping them in four games. The final game is most famous for the Pistons walking out during the final seconds of the game without shaking the hands of the Bulls. The Bulls went on to defeat Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. Jordan unanimously won his first NBA Finals MVP award, and famously wept while holding his first NBA Finals trophy.

File:MJFinals.jpg
MJ & the Bulls win the 1991 Championship.

Jordan and the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991-1992 season, finishing with a 67-15 record. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with a 30.1/6.4/6.1 season. After a physical 7 game series over the emerging New York Knicks in the 2nd round and finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals with another last second shot, the Bulls faced off against Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trailblazers in the Finals. The media, hoping to recreate a Magic-Bird type rivalry in Jordan-Drexler, compared the two throughout the pre-Finals hype. Jordan responded to this by draining the six 3-pointers and scoring 35 points in the first half of Game 1. The Bulls would go on to win the game and the series in six games. Jordan was named Finals MVP for the 2nd year in a row

The next season, despite a 32.6/6.7/5.5 season, Jordan failed to win the MVP for the third year in a row, losing the award to his friend, Charles Barkley. Jordan and the Bulls would end up meeting Barkley and the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Finals. The Bulls won their 3rd consecutive NBA championship on a game-winning shot by John Paxson and last-second block by Horace Grant. Jordan, averaging a Finals-record 41 PPG during the six game series, became the first person in NBA history to win 3 straight Finals MVPs.

In October 1993, Jordan announced his retirement, citing a lost desire to play the game. Many speculate that the murder of his father, James Jordan, in July 1993 factored into his decision. Jordan's announcent sent shockwaves throughout the NBA and appeared on front page covers of newspapers around the world.

Baseball career

After retiring from basketball, Jordan spent the next year pursuing a childhood dream: professional baseball. He signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox of the American League (AL), reported to spring training, and was assigned to the team's minor league system. He had an unspectacular professional baseball career for the Birmingham Barons, a Chicago White Sox farm team, batting .202 with 3 HR, 51 RBI, 30 SB (tied-5th in Southern League), 11 errors and 6 outfield assists. He led the club with 11 bases-loaded RBI and 25 RBI with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Jordan, who cited his father's love for baseball as his motivation for trying the sport, was criticized by journalists and other observers for his foray. Some felt that his below-average performance tarnished his legacy as an NBA superstar, while others argued that Jordan had used his influence with Bulls and White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf to take a spot on the Barons that could have been filled by a "true" minor-leaguer. One of his teammates did remark that Jordan could not hit a curve ball with an ironing board.

"I'm Back": Return to the NBA

Jordan's underwhelming performances in baseball, and the professional baseball players' strike of 1994, prompted him to consider rejoining the Bulls. On March 18, 1995, Jordan announced his return to the NBA through a two-word press release: "I'm back." The next day, he donned jersey number 45 (his number with the Barons, as his familiar #23 had been retired) and took the court with the Bulls to face the Indiana Pacers, scoring 19 points.

Although Jordan was on a one and a half year absence from the NBA, he played well upon his return, which included a 55-point outburst against the New York Knicks on March 29, 1995. He led the Bulls to a 9-1 record in April of that year, propelling the team into the playoffs. During this drive, Jordan incurred fines from the NBA by again wearing his old number, 23, after Orlando's Nick Anderson declared after a game against the Bulls, "He didn't look like the old Michael Jordan." He would wear the number for the rest of his basketball career. The Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, against the Orlando Magic. Jordan averaged 31.5 points a game against the Magic, but Orlando prevailed in six games. The Bulls could have won game six, had it not been for Jordan passing the ball (instead of shooting, as he had done so many times before) to Scottie Pippen in the final second of the game. Pippen, not expecting Jordan to pass, was caught off guard and lost control of the ball, with Orlando winning.

The Second 3-Peat

Freshly motivated by the playoff defeat, Jordan trained aggressively in preparation for the 1995-96 season. That year, strengthened by the addition of Dennis Rodman, the Bulls dominated the league, finishing with a record of 72-10 - to date the best regular season record in NBA history. Jordan won the league's regular season and All-Star Game MVP awards. In the playoffs, the Bulls lost only three games in four series, defeating the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA Finals to win the championship. For his performance in the series against Seattle, Jordan was named the Finals MVP.

File:MikeJSlam.jpg
Michael Jordan dunks.

In the 1996-97 season, Jordan led the Bulls to a 69-13 record. The team again advanced to the Finals, where they faced the Utah Jazz. The series against the Jazz featured two of the more memorable clutch efforts of Jordan's career. He won game 1 for the Bulls with a buzzer-beating jump shot. In game 5, with the series tied 2-2, Jordan gamely scored 38 points despite suffering from a stomach virus that had rendered him feverish and dehydrated at the start of the game. The Bulls won the contest 90-88 and went on to win the series in six games. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Jordan received the Finals MVP award.

Jordan and the Bulls compiled a 62-20 record for the 1997-98 season. During that year, he led the league in scoring with 28.7 points per game, securing his fifth regular-season MVP award. Jordan also received honors for All-NBA First Team, First Defensive Team and the All-Star Game MVP. The Bulls won the Eastern Conference playoffs for a third straight year, moving on to face the Jazz again in the Finals. However, because the Jazz had beaten the Bulls in both of their regular-season matches, Chicago would not have home-court advantage for the series. After losing the first game, the Bulls won game 2 in Utah to capture the advantage, and seemed poised to win the championship after victories in games 3 and 4. But Utah prevailed in game 5, sending the series back to Utah. Chicago now had to beat the Jazz once more on their home court to claim the series. The prospect of losing the series to the rejuvenated Jazz suddenly appeared very real.

File:Jordan m lastshot-1-.jpg
Jordan after the 1998 NBA Finals

Jordan, however, refused to allow the Bulls to fail. In game 6, he trumped his performances in the 1997 Finals with a series of plays that may form the greatest clutch performance in NBA Finals history.

With the Bulls trailing 86-83 and less than a minute remaining in the game, Chicago called a timeout. On the inbound, Jordan cut to the basket, received the inbounds pass and laid the ball in, trimming the Utah lead to 86-85. The Jazz brought the ball upcourt and fed the ball in to forward Karl Malone, who was set up in the low post. As Malone cradled the ball, Jordan sliced in front of him and swatted it out of his hands for a steal. Jordan then slowly dribbled upcourt and paused at the top of the key, eyeing his defender, guard Bryon Russell. With less than 10 seconds remaining, Jordan started to dribble right, crossed over to his left, pulled up, and fired his shot. The two-point jumper went in with 5.2 seconds left, giving the Bulls a 87-86 lead. After a desperation three-point shot by John Stockton missed, Jordan and the Bulls had won their sixth NBA championship, and their second three-peat. Once again, Jordan was voted the Finals' MVP. Jordan's six Finals MVPs is twice as many as any other player. (Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Tim Duncan tie for second place with three apiece).

Jordan's Game 6 heroics seemed to be a perfect ending to his career. With Phil Jackson's contract expiring, the pending departure of Scottie Pippen (who stated his desire to be traded during the season), and in the latter stages of an owner-induced lockout of NBA players, Jordan retired again on January 13, 1999. At that retirement press conference, in typical fashion for Jordan, he induced a touching moment where he paid tribute to a Chicago Police officer that was slain in the line of duty days before.

Washington Wizards

In 2001, Jordan, then a president with the Washington Wizards, stepped down from the front office and out of retirement. His skills were noticeably diminished by age. In his injury-plagued 2001-02 season, he played through pain and led the team in scoring (22.9 ppg), assists (5.2 apg) and steals (1.42). That year his presence resulted in near non-stop sellouts at the Wizards home court, the MCI Center, as well as selling out nearly every arena he would appear in over the two years. In his first year back the Wizards sold out all but three of their road games. He also helped lead the Wizards to a franchise record winning streak of nine straight from December 6 through December 26 and for a brief period was being talked about as an NBA MVP candidate. Injuries ended Jordan's season after 63 games.

Jordan returned for the 2002-03 season newly fitted with orthotic insoles to help his knees and, healthy, averaged 20 points. He played in his 13th and final NBA All-Star Game in 2002-03. The 2002-03 season was heralded from the beginning as Jordan's final goodbye to his fans and he retired for the third time at the season's conclusion. That year Jordan was the only Washington player to play in all 82 games, starting in 67 of them. He averaged 20 points, 6.1 rebounds 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game in his final year while shooting 45 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free throw line. That season he scored 20 or more points 42 times, scored 30 or more points nine times and tallied 40 or more points three times. On February 21st, 2003 Jordan became the first 40-year-old to reach the 40-point plateau, scoring 43 to lead the Washington Wizards to an 89-86 victory over the New Jersey Nets at the MCI Center. While numbers dipped off slightly, the Wizards remained the most watched team in the NBA with Jordan, averaging 20,173 fans a game at MCI and 19,311 on the road. Neither of his final two seasons resulted in a playoff appearance for the Wizards.

At the beginning of the 2001-2002 basketball season, Jordan donated his $1 million salary to help the victims of the September 11 attacks.

Out of respect for Jordan, the Miami Heat retired his #23 jersey on April 11, 2003, even though he never played for the Florida team. It was the first jersey the Heat retired in their then-15-year history, and it was half Wizards blue, half Bulls red.

Philadelphia was the setting for MJ's final game, on April 16, 2003. Playing limited minutes, Jordan still managed 15 points despite the eventual Wizards loss. After sitting out much of the 4th quarter, he re-entered the game in the final minutes after sustained chants of "We Want Mike!" by the usually hostile Philly crowd. Jordan left the fans with one final moment to remember when, with 1:44 remaining, he sank his last two free throws prior to exiting to a standing ovation, which would last over three minutes.

After the conclusion of his playing days, Jordan assumed he would return to his front office position of director of basketball operations with the Wizards. Yet his tenure in the Wizards front office had been marred by poor executive decisions, which included drafting Kwame Brown with the first pick in the 2000 draft and trading Richard Hamilton to the Pistons for Jerry Stackhouse. Thus on May 7th, 2003, Wizards owner Abe Pollin fired Jordan as director of basketball operations.

The Olympics

Jordan played on two Olympic gold medal-winning American basketball teams: as a college player in the 1984 Summer Olympics, and in the 1992 Summer Olympics as a member of the original "Dream Team," with other legends such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Patrick Ewing. It is often rumored that Jordan influenced the US Olympic Committee to keep guard Isiah Thomas off the roster due to personal differences, although Thomas' exclusion may have been more a testament to the quality of the other guards on the team. In any case, it was a star-studded roster that cruised through pool play and the medal round, restoring America to the top of the basketball world.

Jordan's legacy

Jordan's basketball talent was clear from his rookie season in the NBA. His breathtaking dunks, tenacious defense and apparent ability to score at will amazed fans and opponents. After Jordan poured in 63 points against the Boston Celtics in a 1986 playoff game (still a playoff record), Celtic superstar Larry Bird famously described him as "God disguised as Michael Jordan."

Still, many critics refused to consider him as good as the two great players of the 1980s, Bird and the Los Angeles Lakers' Magic Johnson. Jordan, it was said, was nothing more than a spectacular scorer who could not elevate the play of his teammates, as Bird and Johnson had. These critics pointed out that the Celtics and Lakers had immediately become playoff-caliber teams upon the arrival of Bird and Johnson, while Jordan's Bulls wallowed in mediocrity throughout the mid-1980s. But the rise of the Bulls dynasty in 1991 and Jordan's maturation as a player quelled many doubters.

File:MikeJ.jpg
Michael Jordan dunks.

Jordan loved proving critics wrong. In a game against the Utah Jazz, Jordan dunked on 6'1" guard John Stockton, where upon a Jazz fan yelled "Dunk on someone your own size!" On the next possession, Jordan dunked it over 6'11", 285-lb. center Melvin Turpin, then asked the fan, "Was he big enough for you?"

Even as he rounded out his game, Jordan's strengths remained scoring and defense. He led the NBA in scoring 10 years, tying Wilt Chamberlain for consecutive scoring titles with seven in a row, but was also a fixture on the All-NBA Defensive Team, making the roster nine times. By 1998, the season of his famous Finals-winning shot against the Jazz, Jordan was feared throughout the league as one of the game's best clutch performers. In the regular season, Jordan was the Bulls' primary threat in the final seconds of a close game; in the playoffs, he was the only one the team wanted to have the ball.

Commentators have dubbed a number of players the "next Jordan" upon their entry to the NBA, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Penny Hardaway and Grant Hill. Jerry Reinsdorf, chairman of the Chicago Bulls, once said regarding Jordan's jersey number, 23, these words, "For what Michael has meant to the NBA, this number could very well be retired in every arena in the league." (Jackie Robinson's No. 42 has been retired by every Major League Baseball team, and all NHL teams have done the same with Wayne Gretzky's No. 99.)

Jordan was ranked #1 in SLAM Magazine's Top 75 NBA Players of all time in 2003.

The greatest basketballer of all time?

Michael Jordan is one of several candidates for greatest basketballer of all time, along with:

  • Bill Russell, who won 11 NBA titles, eclipsing Jordan's six.
  • Wilt Chamberlain, who won only 2 titles, but holds the majority of NBA statistical records (most notably, a season average of 50.4 points per game, much more than Jordan's high of 37.1 PPG).
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who also won six NBA titles, and is the all-time leading NBA scorer.
  • Magic Johnson, who won five NBA titles and was the all-time NBA assist leader, until John Stockton eclipsed his record in the 1990's.

Those who argue in Jordan's favor say that he was a much better all-around player than Bill Russell (who was not noted as a great offensive player), won more titles and awards than both Chamberlain and Johnson and promoted his sport better than the often-aloof Abdul-Jabbar. In addition, his 11 total MVP awards (5 regular season and 6 NBA Finals) are by far the most in history.

Personal life

Jordan is the fourth of five children. He has two older brothers, Larry and James, one older sister, Delores, and a younger sister, Roslyn. He married Juanita Jordan in September 1989, and they have two sons, Jeffrey and Marcus, and a daughter, Jasmine. The parents filed for divorce on January 4, 2002, citing irreconcilable differences, but reconciled shortly thereafter.

Jeffrey played in the 2005 All-Star McDonald's Basketball Game, which includes the country's top high school players.

Jordan's father, James Jordan, was murdered on July 23, 1993, at a highway rest area in Lumberton, North Carolina, by Daniel Green and Larry Martin Demery, who were caught after being traced, having made calls from James Jordan's cellular phone.

Jordan's brother James R. Jordan is a Sergeant Major in the 35th Signal Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the U.S. Army. James gained certain celebrity when he announced, at the age of forty-seven, that he intended to stay in Iraq until the U.S. occupation ended.

Jordan is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

Businessman

Jordan is one of the most marketed sports figures in history. He has been a major spokesman for such brands as Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, McDonald's, Ball Park Franks, Ray-O-Vac and MCI. He first appeared on Wheaties boxes in 1988, and acted as their spokesman as well.

File:Jumpman.jpg
The "Jumpman" logo

Nike created a signature shoe for him, called the Air Jordan. The hype and demand for the shoes even brought on a spat of "shoe-jackings" where young boys were robbed of their sneakers at gunpoint. The innovation of designer Tinker Hatfield spurred the basketball shoe industry to new heights. Subsequently Nike spun off the Jordan line into its own company named appropriately "Jordan Brand." Athletes who endorse the company include basketball players such as Ray Allen, Michael Finley, Derek Anderson, Eddie Jones, Mike Bibby, Gary Payton, Jason Kidd, Quentin Richardson, Richard Hamilton, and Carmelo Anthony. Jordan has branched out into other sports, with baseball players Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones, football players Marvin Harrison, Terrell Owens, Ahman Green, Eddie George, Jason Taylor, and Warren Sapp, as well as a boxer Roy Jones Jr., AMA Superstock & Supersport racer Montez Stewart. and jazz musician Mike Phillips. The brand has also sponsored college programs such as North Carolina, Cincinnati, Cal, St. John's, Georgetown, and North Carolina A & T.

Beginning in 1991, Jordan appeared in ProStars, an NBC Saturday morning cartoon. The show featured Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Bo Jackson fighting crime and helping children.

File:BugsBunnyAndMichaelJordan.jpg
Michael Jordan with Bugs Bunny in Space Jam.

Jordan has also been connected with the Looney Tunes cartoon characters. A Nike commercial in the 1993 Super Bowl where he and Bugs Bunny played basketball against some Martians inspired the 1996 live action/animated movie Space Jam, which also starred Michael and the Looney Tunes in a fictional story set during his first retirement. They have subsequently appeared together in several commercials for MCI.

After his second retirement, Jordan formed the MVP.com sports apparel enterprise with fellow sports greats Wayne Gretzky and John Elway in 1999. It fell victim to the dot-com bust, and the rights to the domain were sold to CBS SportsLine in 2001.

For many years, the NBA basketball player has been the real-life mascot for Nestlé Crunch, appearing on the products and in their advertising.

Trivia

  • While Jordan is normally known for wearing his trademark jersey #23, along with #45 after his return from his first retirement, he actually wore three separate jersey numbers during his NBA career. Before a regular season game against the Orlando Magic during the 1990-1991 season, Jordan's uniform was stolen from the visitor's locker room, presumably by an Orlando Arena employee. This forced him to wear an "emergency uniform," mandated by league rules to allow for active roster players to still participate. The number on the jersey he wore that night was #12, and did not feature any last name. Jordan scored a game high 49 points and led the Bulls to a victory over the Magic. Subsequently, this motivated some in the Chicago media to suggest Jordan should wear #12 permanently.
  • Jordan wore #23 because he admired his bigger brother Larry when playing at Laney High School. Since Larry already wore no. 45, Michael decided to wear no. 23, as 23 is half of 45, rounded up.
  • Jordan was known for wearing a pair of University of North Carolina shorts underneath his official uniform in NBA games.
  • Jordan was a favorite amongst known hecklers in various NBA cities because his propensity to interact with them in similar fashions. This contrasted greatly to the approach of other NBA players, who mostly ignored the hecklers or became inflamed by their actions. In a game against the Utah Jazz, after which he finished an offensive sequence by slam-dunking on 6'1" John Stockton, a heckler shouted for Jordan to try the same on someone closer to his own height. On the next Bulls possession, Jordan drove to the basket and slam-dunked over Mel Turpin, a physical-playing 6 foot 11 inch center. Jordan looked over to the heckler and asked "Was he big enough?" In another instance, after making a 3 point field goal to effectively put a playoff game against the New York Knicks out of reach, leading to their elimination, as he jogged to the defensive end of the court he glanced at filmmaker and avid-Knicks supporter Spike Lee, and waved goodbye. During a game against Washington, he lobbed a bench towel to a heckler and said "If you're gonna keep talking, at least wipe the drool off your chin." The heckler later shouted for Jordan to autograph the towel.
  • Larry Martin Demery, one of the two assailants charged and convicted in the murder of James Jordan, Michael's father, was wearing a Michael Jordan t-shirt at the time of his arrest. It is said that Demery later remarked that he was a huge Michael Jordan fan and had he known that the victim was his father, he never would have harmed him.
  • During games, Jordan is always seeing chewing gum. The reason is not so much for the taste, but Jordan believed in a study that showed chewing gum helps the mind concentrate.

Physical Stats

  • Height: 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm)
  • Vertical leap: 42 inches (106 cm)

Awards

Team Honors

  • NCAA National Championship [University of North Carolina]: 1982
  • Six NBA championships [Chicago Bulls]: 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
  • Two Olympic gold medals [USA]: 1984, 1992

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