Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17 1963) is a retired American professional basketball player. He became the most effectively marketed athlete of his generation and was instrumental in spreading the appeal of the National Basketball Association around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Born in Brooklyn, New York City, "M.J.", considered a remarkable force at both ends of the floor, ended an NBA career of 15 seasons with a regular-season scoring average of 30.12 points per game, the highest in NBA history (marginally ahead of Wilt Chamberlain's 30.06). He won six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls (during which he won all six NBA Finals MVP awards), won 10 scoring titles, and was league MVP five times. He was named to the All-NBA First Team 10 times, All-Defensive First Team nine times, and led the league in steals three times. With all these things taken into account, Jordan is considered by many to be the greatest basketball player of all time. 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. He has also appeared on the cover of SLAM Magazine nine times (a record), including as the cover athlete for the magazine's 50th and 100th issues. In 1999, he was named "the greatest athlete of the 20th century" by ESPN, and was second only to Babe Ruth 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."
Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York, the third son of James and Delores Jordan, who moved the family to Wilmington, North Carolina when Michael was young. Jordan has two older brothers, one older sister, and one younger sister, and was the only one of his siblings who did not hold a steady job as a teenager. Jordan was a poor student through his years at Emsley A. Laney High School, and received several suspensions. But he evolved into a A+ student and a three-sport star in football (at quarterback), baseball, and basketball. He was cut from the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year because at 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) he was deemed underdeveloped, but over the summer he grew four inches (10 cm) and practiced even harder. Over his next two seasons, he averaged 25 points per game. He began focusing on basketball, practicing every morning before school with his high school varsity coach. In his senior season at Laney High, Jordan became the only high-school player to average a triple-double: 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 10.1 assists. He was selected to the McDonald's All-American Team as a senior.
Jordan earned a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in geography. As a freshman in coach Dean Smith's team-oriented system, Jordan was an exciting, but not dominant, player. Nonetheless, he made the game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Basketball Championship game against Georgetown, which was led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. After winning the Naismith College Player of the Year award in 1984, he left school early to enter the NBA Draft, and was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round as the 3rd pick overall, after Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie of the Portland Trail Blazers.
Jordan played thirteen seasons for the Bulls and two seasons with the Washington Wizards. Generally used as a shooting guard, 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, and 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 (although it can be argued that Bill Russell would also have accomplished the feat, had the Finals MVP been awarded in 1963). In 1997, he also recorded the only triple-double in an All-Star Game.
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 scoring 16 points in his first NBA game, Jordan took the league by storm in his rookie year, scoring 40 or more points six times en route to a 28.2 points-per-game season (sixth best all-time by a rookie). He also averaged 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. He revived interest in a floundering Bulls franchise, received a spot on the All-Star team, and won the Rookie of the Year award.
In the third game of the 1985-1986 NBA season, Jordan broke a bone in his foot and missed all but 18 games. Upon his return, as advised by team doctors Jordan was restricted to a limited number of minutes per game by Coach Stan Albeck and General Manager Jerry Krause. Jordan disagreed with this decision and this soured his relationship with Krause for the rest of his career, as he felt that Krause was intentionally trying to lose games in order to gain a better pick in the NBA draft. In spite of Jordan's injury, the Bulls still managed to make the playoffs, where they were defeated in three games by the eventual champion Boston Celtics. The series is best remembered for Jordan's 63 points in a double-overtime loss in Game 2, an NBA playoff single game scoring record that still stands. After the game, Larry Bird observed that it was "God disguised as Michael Jordan". The following season established Jordan as one of the best players in the league. Jordan scored 50 or more points eight times during the regular season and 40 or more points 36 times, won his first scoring title with a 37.1 points-per-game average (only Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor have had higher season averages), and became the only player besides Wilt Chamberlain to score 3,000 points in a season. He finished runner-up to Magic Johnson in MVP voting. The playoffs ended for the Bulls as they did the year before, in a three-game sweep by the Celtics.
In his fourth season, Jordan averaged 35 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game, won his first MVP award and the Defensive Player of the Year award (garnering 259 steals and 131 blocks), was named MVP of the All-Star Game, and won his second consecutive Slam Dunk Contest with a dunk from the free throw line. Jordan's Bulls got out of the first round for the first time, beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games (with Jordan averaging 45.2 points per game during the series) before losing in five games to the eventual Eastern Conference champion Detroit Pistons.
In 1988-89, Jordan averaged 32.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists per game while finishing second in the MVP voting. In Magic-like fashion, Jordan also recorded 15 triple-doubles during the regular season including a streak of 7 consecutive triple-doubles which saw him record 10 triple-doubles in 11 games. Jordan also recorded 3 triple-doubles while scoring at least 40 points and came 2 assists shy of being the first player ever to record a triple-double while scoring at least 50 points against the Phoenix Suns on January 21, 1989. He established himself as one of the NBA's great clutch performers with a last-second jump shot 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 in the Eastern Conference semi-finals before losing to the Pistons in the Conference Finals.
The Pistons, with their punishing, physical play, established a plan for playing against Jordan, dubbed "The Jordan Rules" by Piston Coach Chuck Daly. The Jordan rules involved double- and triple-teaming him every time he touched the ball, preventing him from going to the baseline, hammering him when he drove to the basket, forcing him to the center where help defence could arrive and making him to rely on his inexperienced teammates.
Coach Phil Jackson took over the team in the 1989-90 season, in which Jordan averaged 33.6 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and finished third place in the MVP voting. On March 28, Jordan recorded career highs of 69 points and 18 rebounds against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls lost to the Pistons in seven games in the Conference Finals.
The First Three-peat
In the 1990-91 season, Michael Jordan, motivated by the team's narrow defeat against the Pistons a year earlier, finally bought into Jackson and assistant coach Tex Winter's triangle offense after years of resistance. That year, he won his second MVP award after averaging 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game for the regular season. For the first time in his career, Jordan failed to register a game of scoring at least 50 points while leading the league in scoring. The Bulls finished in first place for the first time in 16 years and set a franchise record in regular season wins with 61. With Scottie Pippen developing into an All-Star, the Bulls proved too strong for their Eastern Conference competition. The Bulls defeated the New York Knicks, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Detroit Pistons en route to the NBA Finals where they then beat Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bulls compiled an excellent 15-2 playoff record along the way. In what would become an enduring video clip, Jordan changed hands midair while completing a layup against the Lakers. Jordan won his first NBA Finals MVP award unanimously, and wept while holding his first NBA Finals trophy.
Jordan and the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991-1992 season, establishing another new franchise high with a 67-15 record. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with a 30.1/6.4/6.1 season. After winning a physical 7-game series over the burgeoning New York Knicks in the second round and finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals in 6 games, the Bulls faced off against Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals. The media, hoping to recreate a Magic-Bird type rivalry in a Jordan-Drexler/"Air" Jordan vs. Clyde "The Glide" rivalry, compared the two throughout the pre-Finals hype. The Bulls would go on to win the game, and then wrapped up the series in six games. Because of his dominating performance, Jordan was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row. Jordan would finish the series averaging 35.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 6.5 APG while shooting 53% from the floor. Drexler finished with averages of 24.8 PPG, 7.5 RPG, and 5.3 APG but only shot 41% from the floor.
In 1992-93, despite a 32.6/6.7/5.5 campaign, Jordan's streak of consecutive MVP seasons ended as he lost the award to his friend Charles Barkley. Fittingly, though, Jordan and the Bulls would end up meeting Barkley and his Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals, in a match-up dubbed as "Altitude vs. Attitude". Jordan's perceived slighting in the MVP balloting only fueled his competitive fire. The Bulls would capture their third consecutive NBA championship on a game-winning shot by John Paxson and a last-second block by Horace Grant, but Jordan was once again Chicago's catalyst. He averaged a Finals-record 41.0 PPG during the six-game series, and in the process became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Finals MVPs. With the Finals triumph, Jordan capped off what may have been the most spectacular seven-year run by an athlete ever, but there were signs that Jordan was tiring of his massive celebrity and all of the non-basketball hassles in his life.
First retirement and gambling allegations
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. However, those close to Jordan claim that he was strongly considering retirement as early as the summer of 1992, and that the added exhaustion of the Dream Team run only solidified Michael's burned-out feelings regarding the game and his ever-growing celebrity. In any case, Jordan's announcement sent shockwaves throughout the NBA and appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Not since Jim Brown's sudden retirement from the NFL in 1966 had such a dominant athlete walked away from the game at the peak of his abilities.
There have been many unproven conspiracy theories about why Jordan retired in 1993. In the year before his retirement, Jordan had admitted to having to cover $57,000 in gambling losses. Author Richard Esquinas wrote a book claiming he had won $1.3 million in gambling money from Jordan on the golf course. At the same time, Jordan had also been spotted at casinos in Atlantic City. One theory states that the increased scrutiny for Jordan's gambling activities led to a "deal" between Jordan and the NBA, where Jordan would retire for a few years. Supporters of this theory cite Jordan's statement at his retirement press conference as evidence. "Five years down the road," he said, "if the urge comes back, if the Bulls will have me, if David Stern lets me back in the league, I may come back." - However, three days after his retirement, the NBA cleared Jordan of any wrongdoing and stated that its investigation revealed that there was "absolutely no evidence Jordan violated league rules."
After retiring from basketball in 1993, 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 for fifth 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. He also appeared for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 Arizona Fall League.
The Bulls without Jordan
In the 1993-94 season, the Jordan-less Bulls notched a surprising 55-27 record (only two fewer wins than the prior championship season, and the 3rd-best in the Eastern Conference). However, the team would ultimately lose to the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs.
With an aging nucleus and a dearth of quality role players (a problem compounded by the free agency loss of power forward Horace Grant before the season), the 1994-95 version of the Bulls seemed like a mere shell of the championship squad of just two years earlier. Struggling at mid-season to even ensure a spot in the playoffs, Chicago needed a lift. The lift came when Michael Jordan called up Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong in early 1995 to go out for breakfast, a meal that led to an impromptu shoot-around, and eventually to Jordan's return to the NBA for the Bulls.
"I'm back": Jordan's 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 September 9, 1994, he scored 52 points in a charity basketball game set up by Scottie Pippen (which also happened to be the final basketball game held at the Chicago Stadium), showing that he could still be dominant. Later, on March 18, 1995, Jordan announced his return to the NBA through a two-word press release: "I'm back." The next day, Jordan donned jersey number 45 (his number with the Barons), as his familiar 23 had been retired in his honor during his first retirement, and took the court with the Bulls to face the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, scoring 19 points in a Bulls loss.
Although Jordan hadn't played in an NBA game in a year and a half, he played well upon his return, which included another of his trademark game-winning jumpers (against Atlanta in his fourth game back), and a 55-point outburst against the 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. The Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Orlando Magic that season, and Jordan averaged 31.5 points per game in the series, but Orlando prevailed in six games. After Orlando's Nick Anderson declared after the game that "He didn't look like the old Michael Jordan," an extra-motivated Jordan began wearing his old number (23) again. While this action may have been an attempt to recapture his mystique and dominance, it succeeded in incurring fines from the NBA because the Bulls failed to notify the league in advance of the number change.
The Second Three-peat
Freshly motivated by the playoff defeat, Jordan trained aggressively for the 1995-96 season. Strengthened by the addition of rebounder extraordinaire Dennis Rodman, the Bulls dominated the league, finishing 72-10: 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. Jordan was named Finals MVP for the fourth time, surpassing Magic Johnson.
In the 1996-97 season, Jordan led the Bulls to a 69-13 record. However this year, he was bested by Karl Malone for the NBA MVP Award. The team again advanced to the Finals, where they faced Malone and 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, now famously known as the "Flu Game", with the series tied 2-2, Jordan scored 38 points (including the game-deciding three-pointer with less than a minute remaining) despite being feverish and dehydrated from a stomach virus. The Bulls won 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 in the 1997-98 season. Jordan led the league with 28.7 points per game, securing his fifth regular-season MVP award, plus honors for All-NBA First Team, First Defensive Team and the All-Star Game MVP. The Bulls captured the Eastern Conference Championship for a third straight season and moved on to face the Jazz again in the Finals.
After going 3-2 in the first five games, the Bulls returned to Utah for game 6. In Game 6, he trumped his courageous feats in the Finals a year earlier with a series of plays that may form the greatest clutch performance in NBA Finals history. With the Bulls trailing 86-83 with 40 seconds remaining, Jackson called a timeout. Jordan received the inbounds pass, drove to the basket, and hit a layup over four Jazz defenders, which cut Utah's lead to 86-85. The Jazz brought the ball upcourt and passed the ball to forward Karl Malone, who was set up in the low post and was being guarded by Rodman. Malone jostled with Rodman and caught the pass, but Jordan cut behind him and swatted the ball out of his hands for a steal. Jordan then slowly dribbled upcourt and paused at the top of the key, eyeing his defender, Jazz guard Bryon Russell. With fewer than 10 seconds remaining, Jordan started to dribble right, crossed over to his left and as Russell slipped, he released a shot that would be rebroadcast countless times in years to come. As the shot found the net, announcer Bob Costas shouted "Chicago with the lead!" After a desperation three-point shot by John Stockton missed, Jordan and the Bulls had won their sixth NBA championship, and secured a second three-peat. Once again, Jordan was voted the Finals' MVP, having led all scorers by averaging more than 30 points per game, including 45 in the deciding Game 6. Jordan's six Finals MVPs is a record; Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, and Tim Duncan are tied 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 his second retirement press conference, he paid tribute to a Chicago Police officer slain on duty just days before.
On January 19, 2000, Jordan returned to the NBA not as a player, but as part owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. His responsibilities with the club were to be comprehensive, as he was in charge of all aspects of the team, including personnel decisions. Less than a month later, Jordan won four ESPY Awards at the annual ceremony: Athlete of the Century; Male Athlete of the 1990s; Pro Basketball Player of the 1990s; and Play of the Decade, for the famous shot against the Lakers in the 1991 Finals in which he switched the ball from his right hand to his left in mid-air.
Opinions of Jordan as an executive were mixed. He managed to purge the team of several highly-paid, unpopular players (like forward Juwan Howard and point guard Rod Strickland), but his lasting legacy as GM of the Wizards will probably be his selection of high school prospect Kwame Brown with the first pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, a move that has been roundly criticized in hindsight.
Despite his January 1999 claim that he was "99.9% certain" that he would never play another NBA game, Jordan began making noises in the summer of 2001 that he may be interested in another comeback, this time with his new team. Inspired by the similar comeback of NHL star (and Jordan's friend) Mario Lemieux the previous winter, Jordan spent much of the spring and summer of 2001 in training, holding several invitation-only camps for NBA players in Chicago. In addition, Jordan hired his old Chicago Bulls head coach, Doug Collins, as Washington's coach for the upcoming season, a decision that many saw as foreshadowing for another Jordan return. With the season quickly approaching, 0.1% odds had never looked so good. Still, Jordan wasn't making any promises.
In a September 10, 2001 press conference, he strongly hinted at a comeback, but refused to confirm the rumors that had been swirling around him for the past month. But if Jordan wasn't sure on September 10 whether he would return to action or not, the events of the next day may have sealed the deal. On September 25, just two weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Jordan announced that he had stepped down from the Wizards' front office and out of retirement, and that he would be donating his entire season's salary ($1 million) to victims of the attacks. When he finally hit the hardwood again, Jordan's skills were not noticeably diminished by age. In an 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 spg), almost leading the young Wizards to the playoffs in the process. Additionally, Jordan's presence resulted in all 41 arena sellouts at the Wizards' home court, the MCI Center, as well as sellouts of nearly every road arena that he would appear in over the two years of his second comeback (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 nine-game winning streak from December 6 through December 26, and for a brief period was being talked about as an MVP candidate. There was even a hint of his "heirness", on December 29, when Jordan dropped 51 points against the Charlotte Hornets in a home game victory. Disappointingly, though, injuries ended Jordan's season after only 60 games; the least amount of games played in a regular season since a broken foot cut short his season in 1985-86.
Jordan returned for the 2002-03 season newly fitted with orthotic insoles to help his knees, and, (relatively) healthy again, averaged 20 points per game. Playing in his 13th and final NBA All-Star Game in 2002-03, Jordan passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in All-Star history, one of the few scoring records that Jordan did not own going into his second comeback. The 2002-03 season was heralded from the beginning as Jordan's final goodbye to his fans, and he did not disappoint. That year, Jordan was the only Washington player to play in all 82 games, starting in 67 of them. He averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game in his final year, shot 45% from the field, and 82% from the free throw line. Even at age 40, he scored 20 or more points 42 times, 30 or more points nine times, and 40 or more points three times. On February 21, 2003, Jordan became the first 40-year-old to tally 40 points in a game, scoring 43 to lead the Wizards to an 89-86 victory over the New Jersey Nets at the MCI Center. While the attendance numbers dipped off slightly in Year Two, 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. In addition, the Wizards sold out all 82 home games of the Jordan era, shattering attendance records. However, neither of Jordan's final two seasons resulted in a playoff appearance for the Wizards.
Recognizing that this would be Jordan's final season, tributes to Jordan were given in almost every arena in the NBA. In his final game at his old stomping grounds, the United Center in Chicago, Jordan received a prolonged standing ovation that Jordan himself had to interrupt (by giving an impromptu speech) because the crowd showed no signs of stopping. Out of respect for Jordan, the Miami Heat retired his #23 jersey on April 11, 2003, even though he never played for that particular team. It was the first jersey the Heat had ever retired in their then-15-year history, and it was half Wizards blue, half Bulls red (the jersey has since been replaced with an all-red Bulls jersey). An additional honor was bestowed on Jordan in his final home game at Washington, where he was honored after the game by U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who presented him with the American flag that flew over the Pentagon on September 11, 2002. At the 2003 All-Star Game, Vince Carter gave up his starting spot at shooting guard to Jordan, and the halftime ceremony was dedicated to Jordan's career, complete with a Mariah Carey musical tribute.
Philadelphia was the setting for Jordan's final NBA game, on April 16, 2003, against the 76ers. Playing limited minutes due to the game's score, Jordan still mustered 15 points despite the eventual Wizards loss. After sitting out much of the fourth quarter, Jordan re-entered the game in the final minutes after the usually hostile Philly crowd serenaded him with sustained chants of "We want Mike!" Jordan left the fans with one final moment to remember him by when, with 1:44 remaining, he sank his last two free throws, and then exited to a standing ovation which would last over three minutes.
After his third retirement, Jordan assumed that he would be able to return to his front office position of Director of Basketball Operations with the Wizards. However, his tenure in the Wizards' front office had been marred by poor executive decisions, which included the drafting of the underperforming Kwame Brown, and may have influenced the trade of Richard "Rip" Hamiliton for Jerry Stackhouse (although Jordan was not technically Director of Basketball Operations in 2002). On May 7, 2003, Wizards owner Abe Pollin fired Jordan as Washington's president of basketball operations. The firing came as a surprise to Jordan, who said at the time, "I am shocked by this decision and by the callous refusal to offer me any justification for it."
However, this would not be the end of Michael Jordan's run in the NBA, and as of June 2006, Jordan has returned to the league in the form of part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats. He has the final say in all basketball related decisions. Whether or not he has learned from his mistakes in Washington is yet to be seen, but none can doubt his desire to win.
NBA Statistics and Achievements
- Selected in 1996 as one of the "50 Greatest Players in NBA History"
- Scored 40 or more points in 209 games: (171 regular season, 38 postseason)
- Scored 50 or more points in 39 games (31 regular season, 8 postseason)
- Recorded 29 triple-doubles (27 regular season, 2 postseason)
- 5-time regular-season MVP
- 1987-88, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98
NBA Finals (six appearances, 35 games)
- 6-time NBA champion
- 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
- Scored 40 or more points in six games, and 50 or more in one
- Averaged 33.6 ppg, 6.0 rbg, and 6.0 apg
- 6-time Finals MVP
- 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
Holds NBA Finals records for:
- Most three-point field goals made (42)
- Most consecutive games with 20 or more points
- 35, June 2, 1991-June 14, 1998
- Most points in one half
- 35, June 3, 1992, vs. Portland
- Highest single-series scoring average (41.0 ppg, 1993)
Rank among NBA Finals participants in other stats:
- 2nd, three-point field goals attempted (114)
- 3rd, points scored (1,176)
- 4th, total steals (62)
- 5th, field goals made (438)
- 6th, total assists (209)
- 6th, free throws made (258)
- 7th, field goals attempted (911)
- 8th, free throws attempted (320)
- Selected 14 times
- 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98, 2001-02, 2002-03
- Started in 13 of the 14 selections (including his 1984-85 rookie season). Missed one due to injury.
- 3-time All-Star MVP
- 1987-88, 1995-96, 1997-98
- Recorded the first All-Star Game triple-double (14 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists)
- 1997, in Cleveland
- Most total steals (35)
- 2nd in total field goals attempted (206)
- 3rd-most total points (242)
- 4th-best total scoring average (20.2)
- 8th-most total assists (52)
- 10-time regular-season leader in points
- 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
- 9-Time All-NBA Defensive First Team
- 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
- 10-Time All-NBA First Team
- 1986-87, 1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year
- NBA Rookie of the Year
- NBA All-Rookie Team
- All-NBA Second Team
- 2-Time Slam Dunk champion (also participated in the 1985 contest)
- 1986-87, 1987-88
- 2-Time Olympic Gold Medalist (including 1992's "Dream Team")
- 1984, 1992
- 3rd All-Time Leader in Points
- Behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387), and Karl Malone (36,928)
- 4th All-Time Leader in Free throws Made (7,327 ftm, .835 ft%)
- 8th All-Time NBA leader in Free throw Attempts (8,772)
- 4rd All-Time Leader in Field Goals Made (12,192)
- 3rd All-Time Leader in Field Goals Attempted (24,537)
- Behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone
- 3rd All-Time Leader in Steals per game (2.63)
- 2nd All-Time Leader in Total Steals (2,514)
- Behind John Stockton (3,265 steals)
- Single Season NBA record holder Blocked Shots by a guard (131) 1987-88
- All-Time NBA leader Blocked Shots by a guard (893)
- 5th All-Time Leader in Minutes per game (38.3)
- 16th All-Time leader in Minutes played (41,011)
- Surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA record by scoring in double-digits for the 788th consecutive game
- Scoring a game-high 33 points, against the Minnesota Timberwolves on December 30, 1997
- 3-Time NBA leader in Steals
- 1987-88 (3.16 spg), 1989-90 (2.77 spg), 1992-93 (2.83 spg)
- 3rd All-Time career leader for Player Wins (184.44)
- Behind Karl Malone and Hakeem Olajuwon
- 2nd All-Time career leader for Win Shares (607)
- Behind Karl Malone (688)
- 6th All-Time NBA record for most field goals made in a season (1,098, in 1987)
- First 4 are Held by Wilt Chamberlain, 5th by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- Jordan appears on this NBA's record top 100 list a total of 11 times
- 6th All-Time NBA record for most attempts in a season (2,279, in 1987)
- First 5 records are held by Wilt Chamberlain
- 3rd All-Time NBA leader for most free throws made in a season (833, '87)
- Behind Jerry West (840, '66) and Wilt Chamberlain (835, '62)
- Jordan is also the 10th All-Time leader for most free throws in a season (723, '88)
- Appears on this All-Time top 100 list a record 6 times
- NBA Record for most appearances on the All-Defensive First Team (9)
- 8th All-Time NBA leader for most steals averaged in a season per game (3.16)
- Appears on the All-Time Top 100 list, 5 Times
- 3rd All-Time NBA leader for most points scored in a season (3,041)
- First two held by Wilt Chamberlain
- Jordan appears on this All-Time NBA Top 100 list a record 11 times
- 5th All-Time NBA leader for most points averaged in a season (37.09)
- Top 4 are held by Wilt Chamberlain
- Jordan appears on this All-Time NBA Top 100 list a record 10 times
- All-Time NBA leader for single season usage rating (39.83, 1987)
- Jordan appears on this All-Time NBA Top 100 list a record 13 times
- 2nd All-Time NBA leader for player wins in a single season (17.42, 1988)
- David Robinson holds the All-Time record with 17.57, 1994
- Jordan appears on this All-Time NBA Top 100 list a record 11 times
- All-Time NBA career leader for MVP Award Shares (8.138)
- All-Time NBA single-game records for most free-throws made in one half
- 20, against the Miami Heat on December 30th 1992
- All-Time NBA single season leader for win shares (59, 1989)
- Jordan holds the top 3 All-Time records. Including the 5th, and 6th. He appears on the All-Time List a record 11 times
- All-Time NBA single-game record for most most free-throws attempted in one half
- 23, against the Miami Heat on December 30th, 1992
- All-Time NBA single-game record (shared) for most free-throws made in one quarter
- 14, against the Utah Jazz on November 15, 1989, and against the Miami Heat on December 30th, 1992
- All-Time NBA record for most consecutive games scoring in double-digits (842)
- All-Time NBA record for most seasons leading the league in field-goals made (10)
- All-Time NBA record for most seasons leading the league in field-goals attempted (10)
- All-Time NBA record (shared) for most seasons with 2,000 or more points (11)
- All-Time NBA record for most consecutive seasons leading league in scoring (7, 1986–87 through 1992-93)
- Shared with Wilt Chamberlain
- All-Time NBA Playoff record in Points per game (33.4)
- All-Time NBA Playoff record for points scored (5,987)
- All-Time NBA Playoff record for most free throws made (1,463)
- All-Time NBA Playoff record for most field-goals attempted (4,497)
- All-Time NBA Playoff record for most free throws attempted (1,766)
- All-Time NBA Playoff record for most steals (376)
- 2nd All-Time NBA Playoff leader for field-goals made (2,188)
- 5th All-Time NBA Playoff leader is assists (1,022)
- Recorded two playoff career triple-doubles
- both against the New York Knicks (5/9/89 and 6/2/93)
- All-Time NBA record for most seasons leading league in scoring (10)
- All-Time NBA record for most points in a Playoff game (63)
- Set against Boston Celtics, April 20, 1986
- Set during his Sophomore year
- Averaged 43.7 ppg for the three games series against the Boston Celetics
- 5th All-Time Highest single-season scoring average (37.1ppg, 1986–87)
- The first 4 records are owned by Wilt Chamberlain
- 9th All-Time highest single season scoring average (35.0ppg, 1987–88)
- First player since Wilt Chamberlain to top 3,000 points in a season (3,041)
- First player in league history to record 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season (125 blocks, 236 steals)
- Selected as the 1988-89 Player of the Year by the Sporting News
- First player in league history to consecutively record 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season (131 blocks, 259 steals, in 1987-88)
- 1986 through 1988
- Finished 1984-85 Rookie season averaging 28.2 ppg
- 3rd in the league behind the New York Knicks Bernard King, and the Boston Celtics Larry Bird
- All-Time NBA record for most consecutive points in a game (23)
- Finished with 61 against the Atlanta Hawks on April 16, 1987
- All-Time NBA Playoff record for most field goals made (24)
- Against Cleveland on May 1, 1988
- Lead the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls to an All-Time NBA Best Regular season record, with 72 wins, 10 losses
- Averaged a league high 30.4 ppg
- Lead the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls to an All-Time NBA Best combined Regular and Post Season record with, 87 wins, 13 losses
- Only player in NBA history to win the scoring title 8 times
- Won the title a record 10 times
- All-Time NBA Record for most consecutive seasons to win the scoring title (7)
- Shared with Wilt Chamberlain
- Won the 1995-96 Regular Season MVP, All-Star MVP, and NBA Finals MVP
- Joined Willis Reed (1970) as the only other player to do so
- All-Time oldest player and only player at age 40 or older to score 40 points in an NBA Game (43 points, 10 rebounds)
- Against the New Jersey Nets on February 21, 2003
- Scored 40 or more points 3 times, in his final year
- Scored 30 or more points 9 times, in his final year
- Scored 20 or more points 42 times, in his final year
Chicago Bulls club records
- Points in a game by a rookie (49, against the Detroit Pistons on February 12, 1985)
- Points scored in a season by a rookie (2,313)
- Field goals made by a rookie (837)
- Free throws made by a rookie (630)
- Free throws attempted by a rookie (746)
- Steals by a rookie (196)
- points scored (29,277)
- rebounds (5,836)
- assists (5,012)
- steals (930)
- field-goals made (10,962)
- field-goals attempted (21,686)
- free-throws made (6,798)
- free-throws attempted (8,115)
- points scored in a game (69)
- field-goals made in a season (1,098)
- attempts in a season (2,279)
- free throws made in a season (833)
- free throws attempted in a season (972)
- steals averaged per game (3.16)
- points scored in a season (3,041)
- points averaged in single-season (37.09)
- free-throws made in a half (20)
- free-throws attempted in a half (23)
- free-throws made in a quarter (14)
- free-throws made (7,327)
- free-throws attempted (8,772)
- field-goals made (12,192)
- field goals attempted (24,537)
- minutes per game (38.3)
- consecutive games scoring in double figures
- seasons with 2,000 or more points (11)
- points scored in the playoffs (5,987)
- free throws made in the playoffs (1.463)
- free throws attempted in the playoffs (1,766)
- points scored in a playoff game (63)
- steals in the playoffs (376)
- field goals made in the playoffs (2,188)
- assists in the playoffs (1,022)
- three-point field goals attempted in the Finals (114)
- points scored in the Finals (1,176)
- total steals in the Finals (62)
- field goals made in the Finals (438)
- total assists in the Finals (209)
- free-throws made in the Finals (258)
- field-goals attempted in the Finals (911)
- free-throws attempted in the Finals (320)
Washington Wizards club records
- Points scored in the first quarter of a game (24)
- Against Charlotte on December 29, 2001
- Points scored in the second quarter of a game (19)
- Against Chicago on January 4, 2002
- Points scored in a half (34)
- Against Charlotte on December 29, 2001
- All-Time MCI Center record for points scored (51 points)
- Against Charlotte on December 29, 2001
After retiring as a player
Since retirement, Jordan has kept himself busy by staying in shape, playing golf in celebrity charity tournaments, spending time with his family in Chicago, promoting his Jordan Brand clothing line, and riding motorcycles (a passion which he could not indulge in as a player, due to NBA contract restrictions). In late 2004, rumors surfaced that Jordan may return yet again to play one season alongside Shaquille O'Neal with the Miami Heat, but Jordan denied the claims, and has given no indications since that he will ever again play in the NBA.
On June 15, 2006, Jordan became a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and was named "Managing Member of Basketball Operations." He is the largest individual owner of the team after majority owner Robert L. Johnson.
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, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson, and Patrick Ewing. It is often rumored that Jordan influenced the U.S. 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 at the top of the basketball world.
Jordan, Ewing and Mullin are the only American men's basketball players to win Olympic gold as amateurs and professionals.
Jordan also represents his country in the 1982 United States-FIBA 50th Anniversary Tour of Europe and lead the team with 18 points per game. The United States loss its two game series against the European All-Stars but won a three-game series against European powerhouse Yugoslavia.
Michael Jordan's basketball talent was clear from his rookie season in the NBA. His 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."
Jordan led the NBA in scoring 10 seasons, 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. Jordan also holds the all time regular season and playoff scoring averages of 30.1 and 33.4 points per game, respectively. By 1998, the season of his famous Finals-winning shot against the Jazz, he 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 and in the playoffs, Jordan would always demand the ball at crunch time.
With 14 MVPs (5 Regular Season MVPs, 6 Finals MVPs, and 3 All-Star MVPs) Jordan is arguably the most decorated player ever to play in the NBA. Throughout his career, Jordan also finished in the top 3 regular season MVP voting 10 times. Compared to his contemporaries, Magic Johnson finished in the top 3 voting 9 times and Larry Bird who did so 8 times. Earlier players like Wilt did it 7 times and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who has been awarded more regular season MVPs than any other player in the NBA finished in the top 3, 9 times.
Many of Jordan's contemporaries label Jordan as the greatest men's professional basketball player of all time . ESPN conducted an detailed survey of media members, athletes and other sports figures to rank the greatest athletes of the 20th century. Jordan was at the top of the list above sports icons such as Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali. Jerry West once stated that the thing that amazed him most about Jordan was that for all the records and statistics he had put up he was "still the best defensive player in the league ."
Commentators had dubbed a number of next-generation players "the next Michael Jordan" upon their entry to the NBA, including Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. 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.
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 Michael and Marcus James, and a daughter, Jasmine. Michael and Juanita filed for divorce on January 4, 2002, citing irreconcilable differences, but reconciled shortly thereafter.
On July 21, 2006, a Cook County, Illinois, judge determined that Jordan did not owe a former lover, Karla Knafel $5 million. Knafel said Jordan promised her that amount for remaining silent and agreeing not to file a paternity suit after Knafel learned she was pregnant in 1991. A DNA test showed Jordan was not the father of the child. Knafel's attorney, Michael Hannafan, said his client also will appeal this latest ruling.
Jordan's father, James, 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 from calls the pair made on James Jordan's cellular phone. Both assailants were convicted and sentenced to life in prison.
Jordan's brother James R. Jordan was the Command Sergeant Major of 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 the Army to deploy with his unit to Iraq in support of the Iraq war.
Jordan is a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and has the letter omega (Ω) branded on his chest.
Jordan's son Jeffrey, is a mid-level high school recruit who will graduate in 2007.
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, Rayovac, and MCI. He first appeared on Wheaties boxes in 1988, and acted as their spokesman as well.
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 the "Jordan Brand." Athletes who endorse the company include basketball players such as Ray Allen, Michael Finley, Derek Anderson, Eddie Jones, Jason Kidd, Quentin Richardson, Richard Hamilton, and Carmelo Anthony. The "Jordan Brand" has branched out into other sports, with baseball players Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones and football players Marvin Harrison, Ahman Green, Warren Sapp, Jason Taylor, as well as boxer Roy Jones Jr., AMA Superstock & Supersport racer Montez Stewart, and jazz musician Mike Phillips as endorsers. The brand has also sponsored college sports programs such as those of North Carolina, Cincinnati, Cal, St. John's, Georgetown, and North Carolina A & T.
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 starred Michael and Bugs 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, Jordan has been the real-life mascot for Nestlé Crunch, appearing on the products and in their advertising.
On July 10, 2006, Jordan was sued by Allen Heckard for defamation and permanent injury and emotional pain and suffering to the tune of $416 million because Heckard "gets comments about his resemblance to basketball superstar Michael Jordan and he's fed up with it". Heckard also sued Nike founder Phil Knight for the same amount.
- Jordan wore four jersey numbers in his career: his customary #23, #45 after his return from his first retirement, #9 in the 1984 and 1992 Olympics, and #12, an "emergency uniform" worn during a game against the Orlando Magic during the 1990–1991 season after his uniforms were stolen from the visitors' locker room. Wearing a jersey with no last name, Jordan scored a game-high 49 points in a victory over the Magic.
- Jordan's #23 jersey was retired by his old franchise, the Chicago Bulls and also by the Miami Heat franchise.
- Jordan wore #23 because he admired his bigger brother Larry, who wore #45 at Laney High School. 23 is half of 45, rounded up, because he wanted to be at least half the player his brother was.
- Jordan's participation in the 1990 Three-Point Shootout was notable: he scored 5 points, the worst score in the contest's history. However, this dismal performance received little attention because it occurred on the same night that Mike Tyson was knocked out by Buster Douglas.
- Jordan wore his UNC shorts under his uniform during NBA games. This is referenced in Space Jam, in which the Looney Tunes find this good luck charm somewhat disgusting, even after Jordan says he washed them after every game.
- Jordan liked interacting with hecklers, unlike most NBA players.
- After slam-dunking on 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) John Stockton, Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller screamed to the 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) Jordan to "dunk on someone your own size." On the next Bulls possession, Jordan drove to the basket and slam-dunked over Mel Turpin, a tough 6-foot-11 (2.11 m) center. Jordan looked over to Miller and casually asked, "Was he big enough?"
- After making a three-point shot to help eliminate the New York Knicks from the playoffs, he jogged to the defensive end of the court and waved goodbye to filmmaker and avid Knicks fan Spike Lee.
- In Washington, he lobbed a bench towel to a heckler and said, "If you're gonna keep yappin', at least wipe the drool off your chin." The heckler later shouted for Jordan to autograph the towel.
- Dikembe Mutombo, then a rookie for the Denver Nuggets, dared Jordan to take a free throw with his eyes closed. Jordan closed his eyes, swished the shot through, and told Mutombo, "Welcome to the NBA."
- In the 1997 NBA playoffs, Mutombo—one of the league's premier shot blockers—pointed out that Jordan had never dunked on him. Jordan later drove the lane, soared to the basket, and slammed the ball over Mutombo's reaching hand. Jordan waved a finger at the center, mimicking Mutombo's famous antic which the NBA had deemed taunting, and took the technical foul.
- Jordan's college basketball coach was Dean Smith, whose college basketball coach was Phog Allen, whose college basketball coach was the inventor of basketball, James Naismith.
- Larry Martin Demery, one of the two assailants charged and convicted in the murder of Michael's father, was wearing a Jordan T-shirt at the time of his arrest.
- Jordan chewed gum during games because he believed in a study that showed chewing gum helps the mind concentrate.
- An African American professional basketballer also named Michael Jordan who plays in the German BBL was so frequently compared with the NBA legend because of his namesake that he allowed inclusion of his second name to his handle, and was from then on loosely referred to as Michael-Hakim Jordan.
- As a high school sophomore, Michael Jordan was cut from the varsity basketball team at Laney High School.
- Jordan's final All-Star appearance in 2003 marked the first time in his career in which he was not voted a starter but played for the whole season. That starter turned out to be Vince Carter, who gave up his starting spot to Jordan.
- When Jordan suffered a serious foot injury in 1986, he spent his time not only rehabilitating his foot but also in school, where he finally obtained his bachelor's degree in geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- Jordan's first sport was baseball, where he was a very successful little leaguer.
- Jordan is known to not be a very generous tipper, often tossing his golf glove to the caddy instead of money for a tip.
- In 1992, Jordan recorded a video clip alongside with Michael Jackson for the latter's song Jam (Michael Jackson song)
- Height: 6 feet 6 inches (198 cm)
- Vertical leap: 42 inches
- Weight: 216 lb (98 kg)
- NBA Most Valuable Player Award: 1987–88, 1990–91, 1991–92, 1995–96, 1997–98
- NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award: 1990–91, 1991–92, 1992–93, 1995–96, 1996–97, 1997–98
- NBA All-Star MVP Award: 1988, 1996, 1998
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award: 1987–88
- NBA Rookie of the Year Award: 1984–85
- Naismith College Player of the Year: 1984
- John R. Wooden Award: 1984
- Adolph Rupp Trophy: 1984
- ACC Men's Basketball Player of the Year: 1983–84
- Two NBA All-Star Dunk Contest Championships: 1987, 1988
- NCAA National Championship - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill: 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
- NBA History: Jordan bio
- NBA Player Stats
- Basketball-Reference.com: Michael Jordan
- Photos from BBC
- Michael Jordan Quotes
- Michael Jordan at The Internet Movie Database
- United Athletes Magazine Jordan's physical qualities and abilities.
- Gambling Man - The Thrill of the Kill Keeps Michael Jordan Chasing His Next Game
- Michael Jordan Interview - 13 January 1999, United Center
- Quotes said by Jordan.