“If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” Michael Jordan
Basketball legend Michael Jordan began his career at the University of North Carolina where he led his team to win the NCAA Championship title in 1982 and was handed various awards like ACC Freshman of the Year and Naismith College Player of the Year in 1984. He also played on the 1984 Olympics Games in Los Angeles, where the United States basketball team won a gold medal. Nicknamed Air Jordan for his high-flying abilities, 6’ 6” Jordan went on to pursue his professional career with the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and won his first NBA Championship in 1991. After collecting two more Championship titles in 1992 and 1993, he briefly left the NBA to play baseball and when he made his comeback to the Bulls in 1995, Jordan successfully led his team to their best regular season record and later secured three additional championships (1996, 1997 and 1998). Jordan announced his second retirement in 1999, but returned again in 2001 to play with the Washington Wizards. He stayed with the team until 2003, when he took a permanent leave from the NBA.
In the NBA for 19 years, Jordan amassed a series of individual honors and achievements. Among them were five regular season MVP awards, six NBA finals MVP awards, three All-Star game MVP awards, and a Defensive Player of the Year award. He still holds the NBA record for having a regular-season scoring average of 30.12 points per game. Jordan was voted one of the “50 Greatest Players of All-time” in 1996 and one of People Magazine’s “The Most Intriguing People of the Century” in 1997.
An active businessman, Jordan is currently part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.
One of the most successfully marketed sportspersons of his era, Jordan has won a number of endorsements. He became a spokesman for clients like Nike, Chevrolet, Gatorade, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, MCI, Rayovac, Wheaties, Ball Park Franks, and Hanes. During his basketball career, he also emerged as an instrumental figure in popularizing the NBA around the globe.
Jordan has been a divorcee since 2006. Currently, he resides in Highland Park, Illinois. The father of 3, his oldest son Jeffrey started to play college basketball for the University of Illinois in November 2007.
Childhood and Family:
The forth of five children, Michael Jeffry Jordan was born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York, to James R. Jordan, Sr., a mechanic, and Delores Jordan, a bank teller. His parents moved the family to Wilmington, North Carolina, soon after his birth.
Young Michael played various sports, but it was baseball that first attracted him the most. As he grew older, Michael shifted his attention to basketball.
As a sophomore at Emsley A. Laney High School, Michael auditioned for the varsity team but was cut because he was small. Undaunted, he practiced the sport tirelessly and eventually made the varsity team the following year. By this time, he had grown from 5'11” to 6'3.” He played well in his junior season and was invited to attend the Five-Star Camp in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, during the summer before his senior year. As a senior, he was chosen to the McDonald's All-American Team, and later earned a basketball scholarship from the University of North Carolina, where he majored in geography. Although he left college early to enter the NBA, Michael revisited the university in 1986 to complete his degree.
On September 2, 1989, Michael married Juanita Vanoy. They have three children, Jeffrey Michael (born on November 18, 1988), Marcus James (born on December 24, 1990) and Jasmine Michael (born on December 7, 1992). After thirteen years, on January 4, 2002, the couple filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. They soon reconciled, but again filed for divorce. The pair legally separated on December 29, 2006.
“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.” Michael Jordan
High school basketball star Michael Jordan flourished on the court at North Carolina University. Coached by the legendary Dean Smith, part of McDonald's All-American Team in his senior year, Jordan was voted ACC Freshman of the Year and went on to help lead the Tarheels to the NCAA Championship in 1982, where he was noted for making a last-minute game-winning shot. His popularity grew by nabbing the 1984 Naismith College Player of the Year award, the John R. Wooden Award and the Adolph Rupp Trophy. He was also named ACC Men's Basketball Player of the Year in 1984. While still in college, Jordan joined the U.S. Men's Basketball Team to compete at the 1984 Summer Olympic at Los Angeles. Under the guidance of Bobby Knight, he led the team in scoring with an average of 17.1 points per game and brought the U.S. the gold medal. Among his teammates were Patrick Ewing and Chris Mullin.
Jordan quit college to enter the NBA draft in 1984, and two months after his triumph at the Olympics, he was spotted making his NBA debut with the Chicago Bulls. As a rookie, Jordan became an immediate star. He surprisingly scored an average of 28.2 points per game and was named the 1985 NBA Rookie of Year. Also in1985, he was selected to join the NBA All-Rookie Team and the NBA All-Star Game.
Jordan's next season with the Bulls was interrupted by a foot injury, which caused him to miss over sixty games. He returned to the court to participate in the playoffs, during which time the Bulls faced the Boston Celtics, one of the greatest teams in NBA history. Although Jordan set the record for points in a playoff game with 63 in Game 2, the Celtics won the series.
By the 1986-1987 season, Jordan had completely recovered from his broken foot and went on to create history with his scoring. He scored over 3,000 points in a season, making him only one of two players to do so. Also a defense player, Jordan showed his superior skill when he became the first NBA player to record 100 blocks and 200 steals in a season. He closed the season by leading his team to their third consecutive playoffs, which again was won by the Celtics.
In the 1987-1988 season, Jordan again led the league in scoring. He picked up his first NBA MVP award and was named the Defensive Player of the Year. For the first time in his career, he successfully brought the Bulls out of the first round of the playoffs. They were later defeated by the Detroit Pistons.
Although Jordan kept leading the NBA in scoring, the Brooklyn-born player and his team were not able to beat the Pistons until the Eastern Conference Finals during the 1990-1991 season. Their success continued when the Bulls advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in their history. The Bulls eventually won the 1991 NBA championship after defeating the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one and Jordan was named the NBA Finals MVP. Previously, he won the 1991 NBA MVP Award, his first since 1988.
The following season saw the Bulls verify their status as one of the dominating teams in NBA. They beat the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals and again advanced to the Finals, where they defeated the Portland Trail Blazers and won their second NBA trophy. As for Jordan, he won his second consecutive MVP award and was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row.
Also in 1992, Jordan participated in the Summer Olympics at Barcelona and became part of a star-studded team whose members included Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and David Robinson. He finished forth on the team in scoring and helped the team win the gold medal. It was Jordan's second Olympic engagement after the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles.
The Bulls won their next NBA Championship in 1993 after defeating the Phoenix Suns in the Finals, and Jordan became the first player to win three consecutive Finals MVP Awards. Ironically, he lost the NBA MVP Award to Phoenix Suns' Charles Barkley.
A tragedy struck when Jordan’s father was found dead at a highway rest area in Lumberton, North Carolina, in July 1993. James R. Jordan was murdered by two teenagers. Two months after the tragedy, Jordan retired from basketball. Around that same time, rumors about his gambling addiction started to flow.
After retiring, Jordan again became the center of attention with his decision to play baseball. He signed a contact with minor league’s Chicago White Sox in 1994 and had a brief pro baseball career with the Chicago White Sox, and the Birmingham Barons, for which he played outfielder. He also played in the 1994 Arizona Fall League for the Scottsdale Scorpions.
Following an unsatisfactory baseball season, Jordan made a surprise return to the NBA in 1995. Putting on the jersey number 45 because his popular 23 has been retired in his honor following his first retirement, he made an outstanding comeback with the Bulls in a game against the Indiana Paces in Indianapolis, where he scored 19 points. He even made a game-winning jump shot in his forth game back against Atlanta and scored 55 points in a game against the New York Knicks in March 1995. Despite Jordan’s success, the Orlando Magics swept the Bulls at the Eastern Conference Semi-finals. .
Having returned to his old number 23, Jordan became even more dominant the next season. He led the Bulls to their best regular season record with 72-10 and was named NBA MVP after leading the league in scoring. He also led the Bulls to their forth Championship title and won the Finals MVP Award. With the addition of the All-Star Game MVP award, Jordan emerged as the second player to sweep all three MVP Awards. Also in 1996, he could be seen starring alongside Bugs Bunny in the animated film “Space Jam.”
Jordan went on to lead the Bulls to the Championships in 1997, in which the Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz in the Finals, and he again won the MVP Finals award. He lost the regular season MVP to Karl Malone, but secured the award the following season after leading the NBA in scoring with 28.7 points per game. Other honors he collected during 1998 were All-NBA First Team, First Defensive Team, the All-Star Game MVP and most notably, his sixth Finals MVP Award. The year also saw Jordan bring the Bulls their sixth NBA Championship win.
In January 1999, Jordan retired from the NBA for the second time to concentrate on his family. A year later, he revisited the league to become the president of basketball operation with the Washington Wizards. He, however, did not return to the court as a player until September 2001 and soon led the team in scoring, assists and steals. However, he suffered a knee injury in 2002, which subsequently kept him on the sidelines for the rest of the season.
2003 found Jordan in his 14th and last NBA All-Star Game, where he beat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in the history of the All-Star game. Later that same year, following two disappointing seasons with his new team, he decided to permanently retire from basketball. He made his last appearance on April 16, 2003, in Philadelphia against the Philadelphia 76ers. At the end of the game he received three minutes standing ovation from his teammates, his opponents and his fans. After leaving the court, Jordan initially wanted to resume his basketball career as an executive with the Wizards, but in May 2003, he was fired by Wizards owner Abe Pollin due to player dissension.
Over the next few years, Jordan maintained his presence by doing various activities such as participating in celebrity golf tournaments and promoting his Jordan Brand clothing. Since 2004 and as a fan of motorcycles, he owned a professional closed-course motorcycle road racing team that competed in the Superbike class. Jordan also spent much of his time with his family.
In June 2006, Jordan became part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. He was appointed “Managing Member of Basketball Operations.”
More recently, Jordan made appearances in the TV miniseries “18th Annual American Century Championship” (2007) and the TV film “Who Made You?” (2008). He will star in his documentary film that is set to be release in 2009.
NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team, 1997
NBA Finals MVP, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
NBA All-Star Game MVP, 1988, 1996, 1998
NBA MVP, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998
NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 1988
NBA Rookie of the Year, 1985
Adolph Rupp Trophy, 1984
John R. Wooden Award, 1984
Naismith College Player of the Year, 1984
ACC Men's Basketball Player of the Year, 1984