EARLY LIFE AND COLLEGE CAREER
Growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, Jordan developed a competitive edge at an early age. He wanted to win every game he played. Jordan enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981 and soon became an important member of the school's basketball team. His team won the NCAA Division I championships in 1982 with Jordan scoring the final basket needed to defeat Georgetown University. He was also singled out as the NCAA College Player of the Year in 1983 and in 1984. During the summer of 1984, Jordan made his first appearance at the Olympic Games as a member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team. The team won the gold at the games that year, which were held in Los Angeles. Jordan later helped the American team bring home the gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games, held in Barcelona, Spain.
Jordan left college after his junior year to join the NBA. Drafted by the Chicago Bulls, he soon proved himself on the court. He helped the team make it to the playoffs and scored an average of 28.2 points per game that season. For his efforts, Jordan received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and was selected for the All-Star Game. He became the first player since Wilt Chamberlin to score more than 3,000 points in a single season. The following season, Jordan received his first Most Valuable Player Award from NBA—an honor he would earn four more times in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998. A rising NBA superstar, Jordan became known for his power and agility on the court as well as for his leadership abilities. He eventually landed several endorsement deals with such companies as Nike, which further pushed him into the spotlight.
RETIREMENTS AND THE RETURN
He lost his father, James, to an act of violence after the end of the 1992-93 season. Two teenagers shot James Jordan during an apparent robbery and were later convicted of the crime. In a move that shocked many, Michael Jordan decided to retire from basketball to pursue baseball. He played for a minor league team, the Birmingham Barons, as an outfielder for a year. n March 1995, however, Jordan returned to the basketball court. He rejoined the Chicago Bulls and eventually helped them win the championship against the Seattle Sonics in the 1995-96 season. That same year, Jordan made a big splash in another arena—film—as the star of Space Jam (1996). The film mixed live action and animation and paired Jordan with cartoon legends Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck on screen.
The following season Jordan came back even stronger, averaging 30.4 points per game. Starting all 82 games that season, he helped the team finish the regular season with 72 wins and clinch a win in the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. The two teams faced each other again for the championships in 1998, and Jordan helped the Bulls beat them for the second year in a row. Retiring after the 1997-98 season, Jordan did not stray from the sport for too long. He joined the Washington Wizards as a part owner and as president of basketball operations. In the fall of 2001, Jordan relinquished these roles to return the court once more. He played for the Wizards for two seasons before hanging up his jersey for good in 2003.
"To me, Jordan is the god of Basketball, and I think he will always be."
“I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan.”
-Boston’s Larry Bird, on Michael Jordan after he scored 63 points against the Celtics in Game 2 of the 1986 Eastern Conferece First Round
“That play was ‘Give the ball to Michael and everyone else get the @#!@ out of the way.”
-Chicago Bulls head coach Doug Collins, on Michael Jordan and “The Shot” to propel Chicago to victory in Game 5 of the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round between the Bulls and the Cavs