Legendary NBA star Michael Jordan deserves a standing ovation for his relentless
accomplishments on the hardwood. A receiver of the NCAA National Champion, ACC
Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, Adolph Rupp Trophy, John R. Wooden and
Naismith College Player of the Year, he led his Chicago Bulls team to six NBA
Champion titles. He also won two gold medals while a member of the US basketball
team in the 1984 and 1992 Olympic Games. Additionally, the winner of 4 ESPY
Awards won six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards (1990-91, 1991-92,
1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97 and 1997-98 season), five Most Valuable Player Awards
(1987-88, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98 season) and three All-Star MVP
(1988, 1996, 1998) during his Chicago Bulls era. He also made headlines with
three attempts at retirement and involvement with the baseball league.
The famous athlete broke into acting and made appearances in a number of TV and
silver screen shows, including the skit comedy “Almost Live” (1990), the
animated movie Space Jam (1996) and the series “My Wife and Kids” (2004).
Jordan’s name in basketball has brought him a number of commercial
opportunities. He first appeared on Wheaties boxes and acted as their spokesman
in 1988, and showed up with the cartoon character Bugs Bunny in a 1993 Nike ad.
The latter company decided to create a signature shoe for him called the Air
Jordan and then expanded it to a sport-clothing line called “Jordan Brand.”
After his second retirement, Jordan created a website apparel enterprise with
Wayne Gretzky and John Elway in 1999, but the rights to the domain were sold to
CBS SportsLine in 2001. In addition, he has been a major spokesman for Gatorade,
Hanes, McDonald’s, Ball Park Franks, Nestlé Crunch, Rayovac and MCI.
Outside the spotlight, Jordan was named one of “The Most Intriguing People of
the Century” according to People Magazine (1997), the “Greatest Athlete of the
Twentieth Century” by ESPN in 1999, as well as the 13th “Most Powerful
Celebrity” in the 2003 Forbes’ “Top 100 Celebrity List.” He is a member of the
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, and has a tattoo of the Greek letter
‘Omega’ over his heart, representing his membership.
As a humanitarian, he raised nearly $500,000 at the second annual Michael Jordan
Celebrity Invitational at the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island in the
Bahamas (2002). On a more private note, Jordan is the husband of Juanita Jordan
and the father of three children: two sons and a daughter.
Childhood and Family:
Michael Jeffry Jordan was born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York. He
was raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, with his siblings, James R. Jordan
(Sergeant Major in the US Army), Larry, Delores and Roslyn. His father, James
Jordan, was murdered on July 23, 1993, at a highway rest area in Lumberton,
Michael, who bears the nicknames “Air Jordan,” “His Airness” and “MJ,” displayed
his flair for sports when he attended Laney High School in Wilmington, North
Carolina. Being a three-sport star in football (quarterback), baseball and
basketball, MJ finally focused on basketball and was eventually selected for the
McDonald’s All-American Team in his senior year. He then received a basketball
scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he studied Geography.
Following his ever-ascending achievements, MJ left college in 1984 to play
6’ 6’’ MJ married Juanita Jordan on September 2, 1989. They have two sons,
Marcus James (born on December 24, 1990) and Jeffrey Michael (born on November
18, 1988), and a daughter, Jasmine Michael (born on December 7, 1992). On
January 4, 2002, Juanita filed for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences,”
but the couple reconciled shortly after the filing.
As a freshman in college, Michael Jordan won the 1982 NCAA championship game
against the Hoyas of Georgetown. During the 1983-1984 season, he was named the
ACC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year. In 1984, he took home such awards as a
Adolph Rupp Trophy, John R. Wooden and Naismith College Player of the Year,
before leading the US basketball team to a gold medal at the 1984 Olympic Games
in Los Angeles.
The same year, Jordan left college to join the NBA Draft and was picked by the
Chicago Bulls. In his rookie year, he gave a surprise performance with 28.2
points-per-game (sixth best all-time by a rookie) accomplishment and an average
of 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. Soon, he won Rookie of
the Year and received a spot on the All-Star team. After breaking his foot in
the third game of the 1985-1986 season, Jordan returned and scored 63 points in
game 2 of the NBA playoffs, a records that still stands today.
In the following seasons, he soared even higher. In the 1990-91 season, Jordan,
with Scottie Pippen, led the Bulls to their first championship title after
defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in a game where his unique lay-up movement,
switching the ball from his right hand to his left in mid-air, would become his
trademark. He also received his first MVP title for his excellent performance.
Jordan continued his dominance in the following season by bringing the Bulls its
second championship trophy, which brought him the second MVP.
The simultaneous accomplishments soon hauled him to international games when he
entered the US Olympic basketball team for the second time. At the 1992 Olympics
in Barcelona, Spain, he and other teammates on the Dream Team (Magic Johnson,
Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David
Robinson, and Patrick Ewing) presented the gold medal to the nation. In addition
to the victory, Jordan, for the third time, led the Bulls to the NBA
championship. Jordan also became the first player in NBA history to win three
straight Finals MVPs.
In October 1993, Jordan suddenly announced his retirement, stating that he had
lost the desire to play the game. There were many speculations about the
reasons, including a deal with NBA concerning his gambling activities and his
father’s death. The following year, he pursued a professional career in baseball
by signing a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox of the American
League (AL). He also played for the Birmingham Barons as well as for the
Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 Arizona Fall League. His new field, however,
did not gain the same success as the previous one.
“I’m back.” Michael Jordan on his return to the NBA
On March 18, 1995, Jordan announced his return to basketball and to Chicago
Bulls. Soon, he teamed up with other players, like Dennis Rodman, to dominate
the league and win the All-Star Game MVP in the 1995-1996 season. After six MVP
awards and six championship titles for the Bulls, Jordan announced his second
retirement on January 13, 1999. Exactly a year later, he became the co-owner and
President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. Less than a month
later, Jordan won four ESPY awards for Athlete of the Century, Male Athlete of
the 1990s, Pro Basketball Player of the 1990s, and Play of the Decade (thanks to
his famous shot in the 1991 Finals).
Jordan announced on September 25, 2001, that he was out of retirement by playing
for the Washington Wizards, and that he would donate his entire season’s salary
($1 million) to the victims of the 9/11 attack. At the age of 40, Jordan showed
that he was an especially gifted athlete. The Wizards sold out all 82 home
games, but neither of his two seasons resulted in a playoff appearance for the
Wizards. Showing signs that he would retire, in 2003, he received many tributes
from the basketball community and U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
presented him with the American flag that flew over the Pentagon on September
11, 2002. He ended his career with a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on
April 16, 2003. On May 7, 2003, Wizards’ owner Abe Pollin dismissed him as the
club’s president of basketball operations.
During his endless victories on the basketball court, Jordan branched out to
acting. He took a part in an episode of the skit comedy series “Almost Live”
(1990) and hosted the first episode in season 17 of “Saturday Night Live”
(1991). He also made several appearances as himself and was seen in the biopic
Malcolm X (1992), in the animated movie Space Jam (1996), the made-for-TV sport
drama A Season on the Brink (2002), Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003,
unaccredited) and in the series “My Wife and Kids” (2004).
“Everybody just needs to see it (AMA racing). It took me one time to look at
this and see it, and I love it. I’m a junky now. I wish they had more races. I
love this.” Michael Jordan on AMA racing
Recently, the athlete has been exploring a new sport, motorcycle racing, by
co-owning a team called Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki. By 2006, his team
will have begun its third year of competition. In 2006, he is reportedly going
to buy underdog NBA team Charlotte Bobcats.
ESPY: Athlete of the Century, 1999
ESPY: Male Athlete of the 1990s, 1999
ESPY: Pro Basketball Player of the 1990s, 1999
ESPY: Play of the Decade, 1999
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96,
NBA Champion, shared with other teammates in Chicago Bulls, 1990-91,
1991-92, 1992-93, 1995-96, 1996-97, 1997-98
NBA Most Valuable Player, 1987-88, 1990-91, 1991-92, 1995-96, 1997-98
NBA All-Star MVP, 1988, 1996, 1998
NBA Defensive Player of the Year, 1987-88
NBA Rookie of the Year, 1984-85
Olympic gold medals, shared with other USA teammates, 1984, 1992
Naismith College Player of the Year, 1984
John R. Wooden, 1984
Adolph Rupp Trophy, 1984
ACC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year, 1983-84
NCAA National Champion, shared with other teammates in University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1982