Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials, MJ, is an American former professional basketball player. He played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. His biography on the official NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently the principal owner and chairman of the NBA's Charlotte Hornets.
Jordan played three seasons for Coach Dean Smith at his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season, and started a new career in Minor League Baseball, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999, but University of North Carolina. As a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick. He quickly emerged as a league star and entertained crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness. He also gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Wizards.
Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Deloris (née Peoples), who worked in banking, and James R. Jordan Sr., an equipment supervisor. His family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina when he was a toddler.
Jordan is the fourth of five children. He has two older brothers, Larry Jordan, and James R. Jordan, Jr., one older sister, Deloris, and one younger sister, Roslyn. Jordan's brother James retired in 2006 as the Command Sergeant Major of the 35th Signal Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the U.S. Army.
High school career
Jordan going in for a slam-dunk for the Laney High School varsity basketball team, 1979–80
Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, where he highlighted his athletic career by playing basketball, baseball, and football. He tried out for the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5'11" (1.80 m), he was deemed too short to play at that level. His taller friend, Harvest Leroy Smith, was the only sophomore to make the team.
Motivated to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney's junior varsity team and tallied several 40-point games. The following summer, he grew four inches (10 cm) and trained rigorously. Upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game (ppg) over his final two seasons of the high school play. As a senior, he was selected to play in the 1981 McDonald's All-American Game and scored 30 points, after averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists per game for the season.
Jordan's number 23 jersey among others in the rafters of the Dean Smith Center
As a freshman in coach Dean Smith's team-oriented system, he was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 ppg on 53.4% shooting (field goal percentage). He made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, which was led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan later described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting and added 5.0 rpg. He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore (1983) and junior (1984) seasons. After winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984, Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft. The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan with the third overall pick, after Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston Rockets) and Sam Bowie (Portland Trail Blazers). One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted sooner was because the first two teams were in need of a center. However, Trail Blazers general manager Stu Inman contended that it was not a matter of drafting a center, but more a matter of taking Sam Bowie over Jordan, in part because Portland already had Clyde Drexler, who was a guard with similar skills to Jordan. ESPN, citing Bowie's injury-laden college career, named the Blazers' choice of Bowie as the worst draft pick in North American professional sports history. Jordan returned to North Carolina to complete his degree in 1986. He graduated the same year with a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography.
Early NBA years (1984–1987)
During his rookie season with the Bulls, Jordan averaged 28.2 ppg on 51.5% shooting and helped make a team that had won 35% of games in the previous three seasons playoff contenders. He quickly became a fan favorite even in opposing arenas, Roy S. Johnson of The New York Times described him as "the phenomenal rookie of the Bulls" in November, and Jordan appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the heading "A Star Is Born" in December. The fans also voted in Jordan as an All-Star starter during his rookie season. Controversy arose before the All-Star game when word surfaced that several veteran players—led by Isiah Thomas—were upset by the amount of attention Jordan was receiving. This led to a so-called "freeze-out" on Jordan, where players refused to pass the ball to him throughout the game. The controversy left Jordan relatively unaffected when he returned to regular season play, and he would go on to be voted Rookie of the Year.
Awards and honors
James Worthy, Jordan, and Dean Smith in 2007 at a North Carolina Tar Heels men's basketball game honoring the 1957 and 1982 men's basketball teams.
Main article: List of career achievements by Michael Jordan
NCAA national championship – 1981–82
ACC Freshman of the Year – 1981–82
Two-time Consensus NCAA All-American First Team – 1982–83, 1983–84
ACC Men's Basketball Player of the Year – 1983–84
USBWA College Player of the Year – 1983–84
Naismith College Player of the Year – 1983–84
Adolph Rupp Trophy – 1983–84
John R. Wooden Award – 1983–84
Number 23 retired by the North Carolina Tar Heels
Six-time NBA champion – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
Six-time NBA Finals MVP – 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998
Five-time NBA MVP – 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998
10-time NBA scoring leader – 1987–1993, 1996–1998
14-time NBA All-Star – 1985–1993, 1996–1998, 2002, 2003
Three-time NBA All-Star Game MVP – 1988, 1996, 1998
11-time All-NBA Team:
First team – 1987–1993, 1996–1998
Second team – 1985
Nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team – 1988–1993, 1996–1998
Two-time NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion – 1987, 1988
NBA Rookie of the Year – 1984–85
Two-time IBM Award winner – 1985, 1989
NBA Defensive Player of the Year – 1987–88
Named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996
Number 23 retired by the Chicago Bulls
Number 23 retired by the Miami Heat
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