Michael Jordan-the indelible name in the basketball arena
Michael Jeffrey Jordan, the famous American Basketball player was born on February 17, 1963. Sports lovers also call him MJ.
His father James R. Jordan Sr was an equipment supervisor and his mother Deloris worked in a bank. He was born in New York. Then his family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina.
Michael Jordan In High school
He was fond of playing games and he played basketball, baseball, and football. He attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington and when he tried to play for the varsity basketball, he faced rejection because of his shortage in height.
Then he worked hard to prove his ability. Consequently, he became the star of Laney’s junior varsity team.
As he grew 10 cm taller, he got a place in the varsity team in the following summer. Then Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game in his final two seasons of the high school play.
In the year 1981, he played in the McDonald’s All-American Game. And he scored 30 points in the season.
Then many college basketball programs including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, Syracuse, and Virginia recruited him.
Michael Jordan got a scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and he studied cultural geography.
Michael Jordan in College
Jordan won the ACC Freshman of the year after he achieved an average of 13.4 ppg on 53.4% shooting.
In the 1982 NCAA Championship against Georgetown, Jordan made the game-winning jump shot. Later, he mentioned this shot as the turning point in his basketball career.
Jordan got an average of 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting and added 5.0 rpg in his three seasons with the Tar Heels. And he got his selection to the NCAA All-American First Team by consensus in both his sophomore and junior seasons
In the year 1984, he won Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the year awards. Then he entered the NBA draft in the same year as Chicago Bulls selected him with the third overall pick.
Michael Jordan returned to North Carolina in the year 1986 and completed his graduation in Bachelor of Arts degree in geography.
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Professional career of Michael Jordan
Starting Years in NBA (1984–1987)
Jordan made an average of 28.2 ppg on 51.5% shooting in his rookie season with the bulls. He started to earn his fame. The New York Times praised him as “the phenomenal rookie of the Bulls” and he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the caption “A Star is Born”.
The fans also voted Jhonson as an All-Star starter in his rookie season. During this time, his raising to fame led to a controversy as veterans in his team refused cooperation. Relatively unaffected, Jordan went to win the Rookie of the Year title.
Michael Jordan broke his foot in the third game of the year and he missed 64 games. In his absence, Bulls made the playoffs with 30-52 record which was the fifth-worst record of any team to qualify for the playoffs in NBA history.
Jordan performed well on his return. He set the still-unbroken record for points in a playoff game with 63 in Game 2 against Boston Celtics. The team was considered one of the greatest in NBA history.
After recovering fully for the 1986-87 season, he went for a scoring free and got 3000 points in the season. He got a league-high 37.1 points on 48.2% shooting.
In the season he exhibited his unparalleled defensive skills and recorded 200 steals and 100 blocked shots. He became the first player in the history of the NBA to achieve this feat.
Hurdling with Pistons (1987–1990)
In the 1987-88 season, he scored 35.0 ppg on 53.5% shooting and won the first MVP Award. Moreover, he averaged 1.6 blocks and 3.16 steals per game and won the Defensive Player of the Year title.
The Bulls scored 50-32 and made it out of the first round of the playoffs. Then the Bulls lost in five games to the Detroit Pistons, led by Isiah Thomas.
In the 1988-89 season, Jordan led the score by averaging 32.5 ppg on 53.8% shooting from the field. Subsequently, the bulls finished with a 47-35 record and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.
But, the Detroit Pistons defeated the bulls once again. This time, they employed the “Jordan rules” which consisted of double and triple-teaming him, every time he touched the ball.
In the 1989-90 season, Jordan scored the average 33.6 ppg on 52.6% shooting, to go with 6.9 rpg and 6.3 apg. And the Bulls earned a 55–27 record. But, the bulls once again lost to the Pistons and it was a third consecutive loss.
In the 1990-91 season, he scored 31.5 ppg on 53.9% shooting, 6.0rpg, and 5.5 apg. After 16 years, his team finished in first place in their division and set a record with 61 wins in the regular season.
The Bulls defeated New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the playoffs and beat the Detroit Pistons in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Then the Bulls advanced to the NBA finals. It was the first time in the franchise history and faced the Los Angeles Lakers which had strong opponents like Magic Jhonson and James Worthy.
The Bulls won the series. And the best moment of the series came in game two. During the game, Michael Jordan avoided a potential block by switching the ball from his right to left hand in mid-air and laid the shot into the basket.
In his first finals, Jordan scored 31.2 ppg on 56% shooting from the field, 11.4 assists, 6.6 rebounds, 2.8 steals, and 1.4 blocks. Subsequently, he won the first NBA finals MVP award. He broke into tears while holding the NBA finals trophy.
In the 1991-92 season also, he exhibited his dominance and the Bulls established a 67-15 record. He scored 30.1 ppg, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game on 52% shooting and won the MVP award.
The Bulls met Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals. Then the Bulls won game 1 and defeated the Blazers in six games.
Jordan received the Finals MVP award for the second consecutive time and scored 35.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 6.5 apg while shooting 53% from the floor.
In the 1992-93 season, he scored 32.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, and 5.5 apg. But lost the MVP award to his friend Charles Barkley.
The Bulls met Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals and won their third NBA championships.
Jordan averaged a finals-record 41.0 ppg during the six-game series and became the first player to win three consecutive Finals MVP awards.
First retirement and Minor League Baseball (1993–1994)
Michael Jordan cited a loss of desire to play the game and announced his retirement on October 6, 1993. He also felt a huge loss in the death of his father three months earlier.
His father, with whom Jordan shared a cordial relationship was murdered by robbers. In 1996, Jordan founded the Chicago area Boys & Girls Club and dedicated it to his father.
His announcement of retirement came as a rude shock to the NBA and all major news magazines around the world run news about it.
Further, Jordon signed a Minor League Baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox on February 7, 1994.
Michael Jordan’s Return to the NBA (1995)
The Bulls lost the 1993-94 season to the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs. In the next season, the Bulls struggled at midseason to ensure a spot in the playoffs.
Then, Jordan decided to join the Bulls. On March 18, 1995, Jordan announced his return to NBA by a two lettered press release “I’m back.”
On the next day, Jordan entered the court with the Bulls and played against Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis. And he scored 19 points. In the game, he preferred the number 45 to wear, as it was the number he used in baseball.
Being off the court for a year and a half didn’t affect his performance and he played well on his return to the game. In the fourth game after his return, which was against Atlanta, he made a game-winning jump shot.
In the next game against the Knicks at Madison square garden on March 28, 1995, he scored 55 points.
With his return, the Bulls made 13-4 in the playoffs and met Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. At the end of the game, Orlando’s Nick Anderson stripped Jordan from behind and he later commented that “No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to.”
In the next game, Michael Jordan scored 38 points and the Bulls won it. And Jordan resumed wearing the number 23.
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Three-peat II (1995–1998)
The Bulls dominated the league and started the 1995-96 season at 41 – 3. Then it went on and finished with the best regular-season record in the history of the NBA, 72-10.
Jordan scored 30.4 ppg and won the league’s regular-season and All-Star Game MVP awards.
In the playoffs, the team lost only three games and they defeated the Seattle Supersonics in the NBA Finals to win their fourth championship. And Jordan won the Finals MVP for a record fourth time.
The Bulls started out the 1996-97 season with 69-11. In the finals, the team faced Malone and the Utah Jazz. In the game against Jazz, he won the game one, with a buzzer-beating jump shot.
Though he was suffering from fever and dehydration, Jordan played the game five and scored 38 points. The Bulls won the game and Jordan got the Finals MVP award.
The next remarkable moment was the first triple-double which Jordan posted in All-Star Game history.
In the 1997-98 season, Bulls compiled a 62-20 record. Jordan led the team with 28.7 points per game and he won the regular-season MVP award for the fifth time.
The Bulls also won All-NBA First Team, First Defensive Team and Jordan won the All-Star Game MVP. Then, the team won the Eastern Conference Championship for a third straight season.
When the team played Game 6 on June 14, 1998, Jordan exhibited his skill and it turned out to be the greatest performance in the NBA Finals history.
During the final moments of the game, Jordan pulled out the Bulls from a defeat. With 5.2 seconds left, Jordan gave Chicago an 87–86 lead with a game-winning jumper.
Subsequently, the Bulls went on to win the sixth NBA championship and the second three-peat. And Jordan won his sixth Finals MVP which is a record.
Second retirement of Michael Jordan (1999–2001)
On January 13, 1999, Jordan announced his retirement from the NBA. During that time his teammate Phil Jackson’s contract expired and other teammates Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman were also about to depart. Moreover, he also faced the owner induced players lockout.
Jordan returned to NBA on January 19, 2000. This time, not as a player but as a part-owner and president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards.
Though he said that he would not return to the NBA for playing another game, in the summer of 2001, he expressed his interest to make another comeback.
Comeback to Washington Wizards (2001–2003)
On September 25, 2001, Jordan returned to NBA to play for Washinton Wizards. And also, he expressed his intention to donate the salary to the relief work to the victims of the September 11 attacks.
He suffered from an injury and the torn cartilage in his right knee forced him to end the season after 60 games.
In 2003, when he played the final NBA All-star game, Jordan became the all-time leading scorer in All-Star game history.
In the year, Jordan was the only player who appeared in all 82 games and he got an average of 20 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
On February 21, 2003, Jordan became the first 40-year-old to tally 43 points in an NBA game. All of Jordan’s home games at the MCI Center were sold out.
Then it appeared that 2002-03 would be Jordan’s final season and tributes started to pour on him. In the game he played at the United Center in Chicago, Jordan received a four-minute standing ovation.
On April 11, 2003, Miami Heat retired the number 23 jersey to honor Michael Jordan. On April 16 he played his final NBA game in Philadelphia. At the end of the game, Jordan received a three-minute standing ovation from his teammates, his opponents, the officials, and the crowd of 21,257 fans
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