Michael Jordan – The Greatest Basketball Player of All-Time
Many consider Michael Jordan to be one of the best athletes in the world. Even though he has been retired from basketball since 2003, many of the new rising stars in the NBA are still compared to Michael. Considered by many to be the best basketball player ever, Michael has been recognized as one of the top 50 NBA players of all-time.
Michael Jordan’s Early Basketball Career
Although Michael Jordan was born in New York, he moved to North Carolina at the age of seven. Michael Jordan’s basketball career started at Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. He tried out for the varsity basketball team as a sophomore, but was declared too short at 5’11”. However, over the summer Jordan grew four inches and worked hard to get his body in condition. He went on to average at least 25 points per game in his final two years of high school. During his senior year, Jordan was elected to the McDonald’s All-American team after averaging a triple-double for the entire year: 29.2 points, 10.1 assists, and 11.6 rebounds.
Michael Jordan’s College Basketball Career
After high school, Michael Jordan accepted a scholarship to play basketball at the University of North Carolina. Michael had a breakout freshman year averaging over 13 points per game and was named ACC Freshman of the Year. Despite all the freshmen success that Michael had, he was always overshadowed by his NC teammate, and future Hall-of-Famer, James Worthy. Things started to change in the 1982 NCAA Championship Game. During this game, Michael hit the game-winning shot against the Georgetown Hoyas. Jordan’s breakout season occurred during his junior year. In his junior year, he won both the Wooden and Naismith College Player of the Year Awards. He also helped the USA Basketball Team capture gold at the 1984 Olympic Games. Jordan decided to skip his senior year at UNC and entered the NBA Draft. Professional basketball would never be the same.
Michael Jordan’s Professional Basketball Career
Michael Jordan was selected by the Chicago Bulls as the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft. Everybody agreed that Hakeem Olajuwan would be the first overall pick. However, the Portland Trail Blazers decided to pick Sam Bowie because they nneeded a big man. This still remains one of the biggest draft pick blunders in the history of the NBA. Michael Jordan started his professional basketball career on fire and never let up. He averaged 28.2 points per game as a rookie, was named Rookie of the Year, and was voted as a starter on the All-Star team. This was only the beginning to one of the most prolific careers in NBA history. Jordan went on to lead the league in scoring ten times, including the 1986 – 1987 season when he averaged 37.1 points per game and became only the second player to score 3,000 points in a season. He led the Bulls to win six NBA Championships, was voted the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player six times, was named the NBA Most Valuable Player five times, and was voted an NBA All-Star 14 times.
Michael Jordan’s Many Retirements
Jordan was also famous for the fact that he retired from basketball on two different occasions. The first “retirement” came in 1993. Jordan said that it was due to the murder of his father, with whom Michael was very close. Jordan decided to give baseball a shot to honor his late father; however, Michael’s baseball career was very short-lived. He had a very unsuccessful minor league career and decided to return to basketball in early 1995. The second “retirement” occurred in 1999 after yet another spectacular Finals performance, which would have been a fitting end to a spectacular career. He then returned to basketball in 2000 as part-owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. In 2001, Jordan decided to make yet another comeback to the NBA, but this time with his Wizards. Jordan played for two more years and during his last year “Air Jordan” was honored at nearly every NBA arena he visited.
Michael Jordan Career Highlights
- Five time NBA MVP – 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998.
- Six NBA Titles with the Bulls.
- Rookie of the Year – 1984.
- Fourteen-time NBA All-Star.
- Defensive Player of the Year – 1988.
- Two Olympic gold medals – 1984 and 1992.
- Ten-time All-NBA First Team.
- Nine-time All-Defense First Team.
- Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
- Ranks #1 in NBA history with 10 scoring titles.
- Ranks #1 in NBA history with six NBA Finals MVP’s.
- Ranks #1 in NBA history with a 30.1 career scoring average.
- Bulls’ all-time leader in points, rebounds, assists, steals, games, field-goals made and attempted, and free-throws made and attempted.
- Won Slam Dunk Contest in 1987 and 1988.
- Named MVP of the 1988, 1996, and 1998 All-Star Games.
- Scored career high 69 points against Cleveland on 3/28/90.
- During the 1986 – 1987 season became only the second player in NBA history to score 3,000 in a season (Wilt Chamberlain was the first).
- Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year – 1991.
- 2000 ESPY Athlete of the Century.
- 2000 ESPY Male Athlete Decade Award – 1990s.
- 2000 ESPY Pro Basketballer Decade Award – 1990s.
- 2000 ESPY Play of the Decade – for his right to left-handed scoop shot in the 1991 Finals against the Lakers.