Submitted by TM on September 3, 2008 - 08:32.
Basketball player. Born Michael Jeffrey Jordan on February 17, 1963 in New York City. He played with the Chicago Bulls from 1984, and was named as the National Basketball Association's Most Valuable Player in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1997. He could be considered as the greatest basketball player of all time. Even his pairs recognize what Jordan means for international basketball; Magic Johnson said: "There's Michael Jordan and then there is the rest of us." Larry Bird, following a playoff game where Jordan dropped 63 points on the Boston Celtics in just his second season, appraisal of the young player was: "God disguised as Michael Jordan." Among his top accomplishements we can include: Rookie of the Year; Five-time NBA MVP; Six-time NBA champion; Six-time NBA Finals MVP; Ten-time All-NBA First Team; Nine time NBA All-Defensive First Team; Defensive Player of the Year; 14-time NBA All-Star; Three-time NBA All-Star MVP; 50th Anniversary All-Time Team; Ten scoring titles -- an NBA record and seven consecutive matching Wilt Chamberlain; retired with the NBA's scoring average of 30.12 points per game, the highest in NBA history (ahead of Wilt Chamberlain's 30.06); he was also member of the USA Olympic gold medal-winning team in 1984 and 1992, he holds the record for most points in an NBA play-off game (63), against Boston in 1986, and scored over 50 points in a game on 34 occasions. He earned his nickname for his remarkable athleticism.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born on February 17, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York City to James Raymond Jordan Sr. and Deloris Peoples Jordan. He was the fourth child of the couple; having two older brothers, James Ronald, Larry and an older sister Deloris he has also a younger sister, Roslyn.
The origins of the family are from North Carolina but by the time their third child, Larry, the Jordans dreamed of a better life and moved to New York where Ray attended a trade school on the GI Bill (The G.I. Bill, officially titled Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It also provided many different types of loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses) to learn how to work with hydraulic equipment. Michael was born while they lived in New York. But by the time Michael was still a toddler the family decided to return to their roots as they wanted a their children to grow up in a more peaceful place, so they moved to Wilmington, North Carolina.
Both James' and Deloris' parents (Michael's grandparents) were sharecroppers, and knew how to work hard and they passed that virtue to their children; so James began a career at General Electric in 1967, moving up to become a parts department manager; while Deloris, labored full-time at a bank. So they provided everything to their children and thus Michael had a happy childhood and a very good education.
Above all Michael's parents taught their children that persistence in this life is one of the most important things, so this lesson of persistence on something you want to achieve, would help Michael develop in the future an extraordinary career as a basketball player despite all the physical difficulties (described below) he had to wrestle with in order to become, what for many is considered as the best basketball player of all times.
Integral to the family’s strength was their faith in God. Church attendance was mandatory, Deloris says, no matter what activities they participated in the evening before. “Church, like education, was one of those nonnegotiable priorities in the Jordan family,” she says. "Regular weekly attendance wasn’t merely expected of our children; it was required."
As a child, Michael Jordan always wanted to play with the "big boys", he was always striving to be better. Jordan's parents, never pushed him to be a great basketball player, they pushed him to be a good person and believe in where he came from and who he was. "Rather than trying to create a superstar, Deloris and James Jordan wanted to rear children with strong moral character, confidence, high self-esteem, and who would feel that they could accomplish whatever goals they set. "To give those values to your children doesn't cost you a dime. Those are the characteristics and gifts that money cannot buy. " she said. Her goals as a parent were to "Instill spiritual faith, moral values, integrity, concern for others, a strong sense of self-identity, and setting dreams and goals."
When Michael Jordan was a little boy, his mother Deloris would get tired of having him underfoot and would send him outside where his father James would often be working on a car.
His dad would try to get the little Jordan to help, but would give up after a while and laugh at his son's lack of aptitude when it came to engines and his disdain for getting his hands dirty. James would then send Michael back inside to his mother. As a result, Jordan learned to cook, sew and take care of himself.
Due to his father love for baseball, Michael's introduction to the world of sports was through baseball. However he didn't show any good aptitudes on this sport, but that wouldn't discourage little Michael, as persistence was and still is one of his main characteristics. Michael loved sports and during those days just like his father his favorite sport was baseball.
However, following his older brother, Larry, whom he idolized and was a spectacular athlete in his own right, Jordan began to play basketball.
Later, Michael's father built a basketball court in the house's backyard, which they colloquially called "the Rack"; there little Michael and his brother Larry spent hours every day playing one-to-one matches.
However, ironically Michael never, ever won. His brother was older and more experienced, played better, was taller, dribbled faster, jumped higher and shot better. He gave little Michael tips, though he never let him win; so his brother Larry was his first obstacle to pass towards his successful career as a professional basketball player and he was determined to struggle.
Thus Michael became extremely competitive, and most of all he wanted to beat his brother Larry. He desperately wanted to be good.
As the months went by the games got closer and closer. Larry still won, but that made Michael try harder. He enjoyed the chalenge but finally the work payed off, he started to beat Larry.
One day Michael dunked for the very first time in the backyard court, right over Larry's head. Soon he wanted to beat Larry's taller friends. He had to slowly build up his skills, but he liked (and still likes) to be tested and thus he would never quit. So he started to win more often.
However Michael was not very focused academically until he reached high school. Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. Various suspensions, and trouble in general during his freshman year of high school allowed him to mature. He then evolved into a B+ student and started his athletic career trying with different sports; he played football (at quarterback), baseball and finally basketball.
He tried out for the varsity (in the United States and Canada, varsity sports teams are the principal athletic teams representing a college, university, high school or other secondary school) basketball team during his sophomore year (Tenth grade or the tenth school year after kindergarten), but at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m), he was deemed too short to play at that level and was cut from the team.
However as it is characteristic of Michael he didn't give up; he instead started practicing hour after hour on the court. "Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I'd close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it," Jordan said, "and that usually got me going again." Moreover despite he was deemed to be underdeveloped, incredibly over the summer he grew four inches (10cm); it must be pointed out also that no one in his family is tall.
He finally entered the varsity team and not only that but he also led it to the state championship. Over his next two varsity years, he would average 25 points per game. He began focusing more on basketball, practicing every morning before school with his high school varsity coach. He was selected to the McDonald’s All-American Team as a senior; this is the team named each year for boys' and girls' high school basketball. Consisting of the top American players, the teams play a single exhibition game after the conclusion of the high school basketball season. As part of the event, there is also a dunk contest and three-point competition. Having the designation of McDonald's All-American instantly brands a player as one of the top high school players in the United States. The teams are sponsored by McDonald's, the fast-food chain. In this team he averaged a triple-double: 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 10.1 assists.
In 1981 Jordan accepted a basketball scholarship from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a freshman he played somewhat in the shadows of upperclassmen James Worthy and Sam Perkins and was not the dominant player. However, his ever-growing popularity began when he scored the game-winning basket in the 1982 NCAA championship game against the Georgetown Hoyas which was led by another great freshman, Patrick Ewing, whom he would foil future NBA championships for as well. Jordan scored 16 points, grabbed nine rebounds and made the winning basket on a 16-foot jumper with 18 seconds in the game for the 63-62 victory. Jordan later stated that this shot was the major turning point in his basketball career.
Since he averaged 13.4 points per game (ppg) on 53.4% shooting (field goal percentage) in the team of coach Dean Smith (a retired head coach of men’s college basketball considered as "coaching legend" by the Basketball Hall of Fame), Jordan was selected college player of the year in the 1983-84 season. As a junior, he received that award again as well as the Naismith (given annually by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to college basketball's top male and female player) and Wooden (given annually to the most outstanding men's and women's college basketball players) Awards.
During his three seasons at North Carolina, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54.0% shooting, and added 5.0 rebounds per game (rpg). He also led the US Men's Basketball Team to an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games under coach Bobby Knight.
After his junior year, one year before the scheduled graduation, Michael was chosen with the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls.
The Houston Rockets selected 7-0 center Hakeem Olajuwon form the University of Houston with the No.1 pick. The Portland Trail Blazers, however, with the No. 2 pick chose 7-1 center Sam Bowie from Kentucky, which was not as anticipated. Bowie had suffered several injuries while in college but the Blazers bypassed Jordan because just the year before the team selected another exciting shooting guard in Clyde Drexler. Although Drexler went onto to be a star, Bowie was an injury prone player with a journeyman pro career.
However, Jordan, coming off a gold medal performance at the 1984 Olympics prospered in the pro game with a fabulous first season, earning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He averaged 28.2 ppg, (third behind Bernard King and Larry Bird) 6.5 rpg and 5.9 apg. He also was selected to the All-NBA Second Team. Perhaps more important, the Bulls improved to win 11 more games than in the season prior to his arrival and made it to the playoffs. Jordan averaged 29.3 ppg in the first round series, but the Bulls lost in four games to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Later in 1986, Michael Jordan returned to North Carolina University to complete his degree, where he majored in cultural geography, a sub-field within human geography that studies cultural products and norms and their variation across and relations to spaces and places. It focuses on describing and analyzing the ways language, religion, economy, government, and other cultural phenomena vary or remain constant from one place to another and on explaining how humans function spatially. As mentioned before it is a sub-field of human-geography, which is a branch of geography that focuses on the study of patterns and processes that shape human interaction with the environment, with particular reference to the causes and consequences of the spatial distribution of human activity on the Earth's surface.
In his first NBA game he scored 16 points, he scored 40 or more points seven times en route to result in a 28.2 points-per-game average during his first season. He also averaged 6.5 rebounds per game, 5.9 assists per game, and 2.4 steals per game; thus he became the only rookie in NBA history to lead a team in four statistics; points, assists, rebounds, steals. He revived interest in a floundering Bulls franchise, received a spot on the All-Star team, and won the Rookie of the Year award.
However during his first season, his shooting range was far from outstanding and was thought to roam too often on defense resulting from playing trapping defenses in college according to his first NBA coach, Kevin Loughery. Nevertheless, his medium game -- eight to 15-feet from the basket was impressive as evidenced by his .515 field-goal shooting percentage and his steals tended to compensate for his less than stellar straight-up defense. By the time he would improve in both areas to be considered as a threat from anywhere on the floor and one of the best ever one-on-one defenders.
He immediately became a fan favorite even in opposing arenas, and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the heading "A Star is Born" just over a month into his professional career. Home attendance at the Chicago Stadium and on the road rose significantly. And even fans of opposing teams were seemingly content to see Jordan play, even if their team lose, such was the delight provided by Jordan magnificent game.
His effect was so powerful that it was suggested referees gave him preferential treatment allowing him to take that additional step on route to the basket rather than being whistle for a travelling violation. However, video break down confirmed that his first step was so quick that he was not in violation of the rulebook.
However not everything was so positive, after so many attention given to the rookie Jordan other players started to feel uncomfortable that leading to a so called "freeze-out" on Jordan, where players refused to pass him the ball throughout the game. The media ran with the idea that Eastern All-Star teammate Detroit Pistons' Isiah Thomas, was the leader of this supposed conspiracy. This issue continued over the years, despite Thomas refuted such accusations. The whole situation would come to an end when years later Thomas, as the coach of the 2003 East All-Star squad, persuaded Toronto Raptors' Vince Carter to relinquish his starting role to Jordan in his last midseason classic.
The season ended with The Bulls at 38–44, and lost in the first round of the playoffs in four games to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Michael Jordan, upon entering the realm of professional basketball, was pursued by Nike to be their new spokesperson. Thus the multinational signed him to a major shoe deal because of his anticipated appeal, but he surpassed even the loftiest of expectations. One version of the sneakers he wore in his first preseason was an unseen before blend of his team's red and black colors that the NBA initially considered in violation of the "uniformity of uniform rule." Subject to fines if he continued to wear them, he occasionally did and the demand for that version and others in the Air Jordan line was unprecedented.
He also had a clause in his contract that allowed him, unlike most other NBA players, to play basketball anytime in the off-season, it was known as the "love-of-the-game clause."
During the third game of his second season in the NBA (1985-1986), 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. Despite Jordan’s injury, the Chicago Bulls still managed to make the playoffs, where they were defeated in three games by the eventual champion Boston Celtics.
Jordan recovered in time to participate in the playoffs and performed well upon his return, so much that, the series is best remembered for Jordan’s 63 points in Game 2, an NBA playoff single game scoring record that still stands, it is often considered as one of the greatest games in NBA history. After the game, Larry Bird observed that it was “God disguised as Michael Jordan”. The Bulls lost that game 132-131 in double-overtime and the series in a sweep, but Jordan averaged 43.7 points per game in the series.
By his third season (1986-1987), Jordan had recovered completely and it established Jordan as one of the best players in the league. Jordan scored 40 or more points in nine consecutive games, and 23 straight in one game to set an NBA record. Won his first scoring title with a 37.1 points-per-game average, and became the only player besides Wilt Chamberlain to score 3,000 points in a season. He also became the first player in NBA history to record 200 steals and 100 blocks in a season. Despite Jordan's success, Magic Johnson won the league's Most Valuable Player Award.
At the All-Star Weekend, he won the first of two consecutive Slam Dunk competitions. However the playoffs ended for the Bulls as they did the year before, in a three-game sweep by the Celtics.
In his fourth season, (1987-1988) Jordan averaged 35 points per game, 5.5 rebounds per game, and 5.9 assists per game, won his first Most Valuable Player Award and the Defensive Player of the Year award (garnering 259 steals and 131 blocks, unusually high for a guard), 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, led by Isiah Thomas and a group of physical players known as the "Bad Boys". They utilized a defensive scheme developed by Head Coach Chuck Daly and his staff, known as the Jordan Rules, the Pistons dared Jordan to single-handily win games with constant double and triple teaming.
In his fifth season (1988-89), Jordan averaged 32.5 points per game on 53.8% shooting from the field, 8 rebounds per game, and 8 assists per game, in this season he finished second in the Most Valuable Player voting. He established himself as one of the NBA’s great clutch performers with a last-second dagger over Craig Ehlo in decisive Game 5 of the first round of the playoffs against the Cavaliers with a 101-100 victory for the Bulls.
The Bulls, finished the season with a 47–35 record, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals fueled by the emergence of Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant as starters, they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks in the Eastern Conference semi-finals before losing to the Pistons in the Conference Finals under their "Jordan Rules" method of guarding Jordan, which consisted of double and triple teaming him every time he touched the ball.
During the off-season, Jordan declared in an article of Sports Illustrated his interest on Professional Golf and joining the PGA Tour (Proffesional Golfers Association Championship) once his basketball career is over.
Coach Phil Jackson took over the team in Jordan's sixth season (1989-90), a team which was on the rise thanks to their new triangle offense formed by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant. It consisted of a fluid passing and cutting system that created opportunities for all five players on the floor to score, but when the play broke down and the shot clock waned, Jordan had free reign to create his own shot.
The Bulls reached their best record since 1971-72 season as they went 55-27 that season. Despite they made it to the Eastern Conference Finals beating the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers and they pushed the series to seven games, the Bulls lost to the Pistons for the third consecutive season.
During this season Jordan averaged 33.6 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game and 6.3 assists per game. He finished 3rd in the Most Valuable Player voting. He set his career game-high in points with 69 against the Cavalliers in a 117-113 overtime win. He also emerged as a three-point threat, posting a .376 percentage -- 100 percentage points above his previous best.
Regarding his personal life in 1984 Michael met the model Juanita Vanoy, his future wife and mother of his three children. They were introduced to one another by a mutual friend at a Chicago Bennigan's restaurant in 1984. A few weeks later they met again at a party given by their friend. About six months later Juanita and Michael were dating one another on a regular basis.
Michael proposed to Juanita at Nick's Fish Market in Chicago on December 31, 1987. Although she said yes, they decided to call off their engagement and wait for nearly a year before discussing marriage again.
Michael at age 26 and Juanita at age 30 were married in a ten-minute ceremony on September 2, 1989 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Little White Wedding Chapel in the very early hours of the morning. Michael gave Juanita a five-karat marquise diamond ring. There were four guests at their wedding.
Juanita and Michael signed a post-nuptial agreement a year and a half after their wedding.
The 1990-1991 season, Jordan's seventh in the NBA, would be of great importance for both Michael and the Bulls. This year Michael and the team were ready for something bigger, the finals and the NBA Championship.
Motivated by their last season narrow defeat against the Pistons and the roadblock the latter represented, thanks in a great degree to their "Jordan Rule" system. That season was a spectacular demonstration of the power acquired by the Bulls; that year also saw Jordan receive his second MVP award after averaging 31.5 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists per game for the regular season; the team only lost twice en-route and won 61 games, finishing first in their division for the first time in 16 years.
The Bull made it again to the Playoffs defeating the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening two rounds of the Playoffs; however there was still their eternal rival, the Pistons waiting for them, for fourth consecutive time; and that would be the final test for the Bulls if they were prepared for something bigger. And they did it well, with a spectacular sweep of the Pistons, the Bulls completed a four-game sweep with a 115-94 victory at the last game at the Palace of Auburn Hills.
Chicago turned the game into a rout in the third quarter, building a 57-50 halftime lead into an 87-70 lead after three quarters. With 4 minutes 38 seconds left and trailing by 103-80, the Pistons conceded. Daly removed Isiah Thomas (16 points) and Joe Dumars from the game as the Pistons hugged each other on the bench, knowing their dream of winning three consecutive titles had died. "At this point, I think Chicago's a better club than we are," Daly said. "Any club that can handle us four straight deserves to go to the finals."
Chicago dominated the Eastern Conference championship series from start to finish, brushing aside the proud Pistons as if they were a nuisance instead of the defending champions. The Pistons tried physical play, lineup changes and anything else they could think of to avoid being dethroned at home. None of it worked. The Bulls were too determined, too poised and too good to be denied. "We surprised a lot of people, and we surprised ourselves. We didn't feel we could sweep this team, but we knew we could beat them. We had to accept every beating, every push and every elbow they gave us and stay focused on our goal. I was glad to see our team stay so focused" said Jordan. "
To say that this is unexpected, to sweep this team, is an understatement," said Phil Jackson, Chicago's coach. "But after losing to this team for three years, I think we deserve a shot."
The Bulls made it to the finals for the first time in their history. They were ready to play against Magic Johnson's Los Angeles Lakers. After losing the first game at home to the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals, the Bulls stormed back defeating the Lakers four games to one.
In the process of these four games perhaps one of the greatest moments, one of those registered as historic, can be found in the second game; whe Jordan changed hands midair while completing a layup. With 7:44 left in the fourth quarter: He took a pass at the foul line from Cliff Levingston, dribbled down the middle of the painted lane and rose to dunk the ball with his right hand. But as Jordan himself explained "At first I saw a clear lane to the basket and I was going to dunk the ball, but I saw long-armed Sam Perkins in the way." Jordan thought Perkins, his college teammate, would try to block the dunk, so he switched the ball from his right to his left hand at chest level. He was coming back to earth, we thought. Maybe the whistle had blown, because Jordan had pulled his hand back, away from the rim. But no foul had been called, and Jordan leveled off. As his body floated to the right, Jordan extended his left hand, and flipped the ball off glass, with reverse spin, into the basket. "It was another example of him doing the impossible, the unbelievable," Magic Johnson said. "He changed hands, floated about five more yards and said, 'Well, I don't know, I might need to float a little further.' Then he puts it in off glass."
Johnson marveled, Jordan shrugged. "It was just instinct to change hands," he said. "It was just one of those creative things. Sometimes you never know what's going to happen."
The play was the last in a sequence of 13 consecutive field goals made by Jordan.
That year the Bulls won the first Championship of their history and Jordan in the finals averaged 31.2 points per game on 56% shooting from the field, 6.6 rebounds per game, 11.4 assists per game, 2.8 steals and 1.4 blocks, earning the first of six NBA Finals MVP awards, the image of Jordan crying while holding the NBA Finals trophy was one of those historic.
Jordan, who by now shaved his head completely bald triggering another trend and making him recognizable by just the dark rounded silhouette of his head, was now known as a champion.
In the 1991-1992 season things would not change for Jordan and the Bulls, as they were already flying in the realms of stardom and would not leave it that easy, they wanted more.
They finished the season with a 67-15 record, thus topping their last season record. After winning a physical 7-game series over the 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.
Jordan opened up Game 1 with a record setting 35-point first-half performance, including six 3-pointers, to lead the Bulls to a 122-89 rout. The Bulls would go on to win the game. The Blazers bounced back and seemed poised to force a Game 7 as it took a 79-64 lead into the fourth quarter of Game 6. However, the Bulls roared back for a 97-93 series clinching win. During the finals Jordan averaged 35.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds per game and 6.5 assists per game; as the Bulls defeated the Portland Trail Blazers, 4-2, to win their second consecutive NBA title and Jordan his second finals MVP Award.
That summer, Jordan was the key figure of the Dream Team that competed in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain (his second Olympic Games, as he participated when still an amateur in 1984); perhaps it was the greatest team ever assembled. It was the first time NBA players were allowed to compete in the Olympics as prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics, only European and South American professionals were allowed to play in the Olympics. The 12-member roster, was dusted by all the era's stars, including Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, John Stockton, David Robinson, and Patrick Ewing.
The Dream Team reached the Gold Medal beating to Croatia in the final 117-85 at the Pavelló Olímpic de Badalona. This was the second Olympic Gold medal for Jordan who played limited minutes due to the frequent blowouts, Jordan averaged 12.7 points per game, finishing fourth on the team in scoring.
In the 1992-1993 season Jordan led the Bulls past the Patrick Ewing-led Knicks for the fourth time in five postseasons -- this time in the Eastern Conference Finals in six games with out the home court advantage. Jordan scored 54 points in a 105-95 Game 4 win. And in the series' turning point that was Game 5, Jordan recorded a triple double (29 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists). But the crucial play was Pippen's successive blocks of putback attempts by the Knicks' Charles Smith in the final seconds that allowed the Bulls to escape the Garden with a 97-94 win. The Bulls sealed the series with a 96-88 victory in Game 6. During the season he averaged 32.6 points per game, 6.7 rebounds per game and 5.5 assists per game.
The Bulls made it for third consecutive year to the finals and faced off the Barkley's Phoenix Suns. In a six games series Jordan averaged NBA Finals record of 41.0 points per game, while collecting 8.5 rebounds per game and 6.3 assists per game. In the decisive Game Six, the Bulls again stormed back to overcome a fourth quarter deficit. This time, Jordan scored nine straight points down the stretch leading to John Paxson's game winning three-pointer with 3.9 seconds on the clock for a 98-97 victory; thus he led the Bulls to their third consecutive NBA title, the first team in 27 years to win three consecutive titles. During that season Jordan also became the first player in NBA history to win three consecutive Finals MVPs.
However, despite his successful Basketball career, things in his personal life were far from good, in this moment.
Ironically, what could be considered as the best moment of his life was followed by a series of personal disasters roamed by controversy and finally the tragedy.
Jordan was under scrutiny for what was thought to be poor decisions with respect to his gambling endeavors.
In May, 1993 one evening before the second game of the Eastern Conference final between the Bulls and the Knicks, he was sighted by hotel guests in the baccarat pit in Bally's Grand casino in Atlantic City; when he should have been resting for the next evening game.
After practice on, he checked into Bally's Grand at 5:07 that afternoon according to a hotel employee, checked out at 11:05 P.M., was seen in the casino as late as 2:30 A.M., returned to New York and was on the Garden court for a midmorning shootaround, 10 hours before the night's game. "
You weren't taking golf lessons in Atlantic City, Michael," one Knick rooter yelled as the Knicks took a 2-0 lead. "
How's the wrist after the slots, Michael?" another shouted, referring to the brace on Jordan's damaged right wrist.
Jordan reportedly lost $5,000 playing blackjack in a private area in the baccarat pit. Nevertheless, Jordan justified his reputation of best player, scoring 36 points in that game, however the Bulls lost 96-91.
Over the last 20 months he had been playing basketball virtually nonstop, moreover many apologists argued that players are accustomed to staying up until the early hours, then sleeping late or taking a nap after the shootaround. Some N.B.A. players enjoy frequenting the Atlantic City casinos when their teams visit Philadelphia for a game.
But many said that gambling attracts Jordan, often seen in the Monte Carlo casino in Monaco when the Dream Team was practicing there before the Olympic Games of 1992 in Barcelona, Spain.
In 1992 the NBA called Jordan on the carpet after checks totaling $108,000 and another check for $57,000 were either signed by him or drawn on an account used by his ProServ management firm to pay high-stakes golf and poker debts in North Carolina.
In 1993 also, San Diego businessman Richard Esquinas wrote in a self-published book that he had won $1.25 million from Jordan in golf bets. Esquinas told reporters he wrote the book to motivate Jordan to get help for his gambling problem. The next day Jordan acknowledged in a statement that he did play golf with Esquinas but that his debt was "substantially less" than the amound cited.
Years later, in October 2005, Michael Jordan would come clean about his high-stakes gambling in the CBS "60 Minutes" interview made by Ed Harris one month before it was aired. In this interview he stated he crossed the line to the point of being "stupid" but was never a compulsive gambler. "Yeah, I've gotten myself into situations where I would not walk away, and I've pushed the envelope," Jordan said. He added, "I want to go out on a limb and win, and sometimes that can take you past the stage where you know you should probably take a step back from. It's very embarrassing one of the things you totally regret. So you look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I was stupid,' ".
But things didn't get to the point where he was willing to risk his livelihood or his family, Michael said and denied he had a problem in one of his first major television interviews in years.
All the gambling issue would pale after the big tragedy that followed when Michael's father was murdered.
On the morning of Friday July 23, 1993, 8 days before his 57th birthday, James Jordan was murdered while driving home to Charlotte, N.C., from longtime friend Willie Kemp's funeral when he stopped his car to rest. The 56-year-old Jordan was shot in the chest with a .38 caliber handgun, apparently after he parked his car to take a nap along the gravel entrance to a store on U.S. 74 near Lumberton in southeastern North Carolina.
His body was found floating in a South Carolina creek on August 3, 1993, and was not identified until August 13, 1993.
On Sunday August 15, 1993 officials arrested Larry Martin Demery of Rowland, N.C., and Daniel Andre Green of Lumberton, on charges of murder, armed robbery and conspiracy.
Michael's mother, Deloris, and their five children had words of encouragement in a prepared statement: "Dad is no longer with us. But the lessons he taught us will give us the strength to move forward with a renewed sense of purpose in our lives." About 200 people attended James Jordan Sr. services, including a number of personal friends of the Jordan family like University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith and Chicago Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong.
His father was Jordan's main confidant and hero, and they were strongly united. As a child Michael had imitated his father's proclivity to stick out his tongue while absorbed in work. He later adopted it as his own signature, displaying it each time he drove to the basket.
Emotionally drained and seeking new challenges, just one day before the start of training camp, on October 6, 1993, Jordan announced his retirement from professional basketball; his announcement shocked the entire sports world, appearing in the front pages of newspapers and magazines all around the world. However those close to Jordan claimed that he had been considering retirement as early as the summer of 1992, and that the added exhaustion due to the Dream Team run in the 1992 Olympics solidified Jordan's feelings about the game and his ever-growing celebrity status.
But the surprise would be even greater when, attempting to fulfill a dream inspired by his father, Michael Jordan set his sights on Major League Baseball. He said he was pursuing a dream of his late father, who always envisioned his son as a big leaguer.
On February 7, 1994 after working out several days a week at Comiskey Park for the past few months, Jordan signed a minor-league contract with the Chicago White Sox, who like the Bulls, are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf.
Despite being competent he was an unspectacular performer, even for a minor-league. He played for the Birmingham Barons, a Chicago White Sox farm team. Thus, on April 8, 1994 in Hoover, Alabama; before a crowd of 10,359, Michel Jordan made his professional baseball debut, going 0-for-3 for the Double-A Birmingham Barons in a 10-3 loss to the Chattanooga Lookouts. But it wouldn't be until July 30, 1994 that Jordan would belt his first professional home run, an eighth-inning, bases-empty shot in his 354th at-bat.
In his first summer with the Barons, he batted .202 with 114 strikeouts in 127 games. Later in the year he batted .252 with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. By November of 1994, the Bulls had retired his number and erected a life-size statue of him in front of the United Center.
During the absence of Jordan, in the 1993-94 season, the 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.
Jordan's hope of reaching the big leagues seemed dim, and with Major League Baseball embroiled in a labor dispute as the 1995 season neared, his return to the NBA was a fact.
It was March 18, 1995 when Jordan issued a two-words press release in which he stated simply, "I'm back." He returned to the NBA the next day, wearing No. 45 as he wanted to leave No. 23 behind since it was retired in his honor, and attempted to carry the Bulls to another title, entering the team in mind-season. His first game was against the Indiana Pacers in which he scored 19 points in a 103-96 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers. It is noteworthy the fact that this game had highest Nielsen rating of a regular season NBA game since 1975, the Nielsen audience measurement systems developed by Nielsen Media Research determines the audience size and composition of television programming. Nielsen conducts these tests by calling the locals and asking them what they are watching at the moment.
However the most memorable game after his return was his sixth one, on March 29, 1995, when he scored 55 points against the Knicks in the Madison Square Garden. That game, dubbed "Double Nickel," was extraordinary in that a new Jordan emerged. Robbed of his youthful bounce at age 32, he turned primarily to fade-away jump shots and spinning layups. And in the waning moments of a tie game, he drew attention as he dribbled around the perimeter then passed to a wide-open Bill Wennington under the basket for the winning points in a 113-111 victory.
In the regular-season games Jordan averaged 26.9 points per game, which the Bulls played to a record of 13-4.
Jordan led the Bulls to a 9-1 record in April 1995, propelling the team into the playoffs. In the playoffs, he averaged 31.5 points per game. But despite Jordan's presence in the lineup, the Bulls didn't have quite enough to get past the Orlando Magic in the conference semifinals. Chicago lost to the Shaquille O'Neal-led Magic in six games.
After losing the first game of the conference semifinals Orlando's Nick Anderson stated, "He didn't look like the old Michael Jordan". Jordan once again had something to prove to the world, that he was still the greatest basketball player to ever play the game, and that he would be even greater in the season to come. So he began wearing his old number "23" again. However this action resulted in incurring fines from the NBA because the Bulls failed to notify the league in advance of the number change.
The next season 1995-1996 would be remarkable as it would show to the world that Jordan was still the great player of old times and maybe still the best one.
From the very first day back in training, it was apparent that he was on a mission, he wanted to prove that his power didn't wane and that he was still the best. During that summer he filmed the "Space Jam" movie.
In addition to Jordan the Bulls added Dennis Rodman, an enigmatic player but a rebounding and defensive phenom. The team coached by Phil Jackson was made up by Michael Jordan as Guard, Scottie Pippen as Forward, Dennis Rodman as Forward, Ron Harper as Guard, Luc Longley as Centre, Toni Kukoc as Forward and Steve Kerr as Guard; with such a team success and eventually the championship was a granted deal, but obviously without Michael Jordan it wouldn't be the same.
On April 16, 1996 Jordan scored 22 points as the Bulls beat the Milwaukee Bucks 86-80 for their 70th win of the season, setting an NBA record, to finish the regular season with an astonishing record of 72-10, the best regular season in the history of the NBA. Jordan led the league in scoring with 30.4 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, 4.3 assists per game and 2.2 steals; he also 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 their fourth championship. Jordan was named Finals MVP for the fourth time, surpassing Magic Johnson.
In the final game on June 16, 1996, against the SuperSonics, Jordan had a horrendous shooting day (5-for-19 for 22 points), but the Bulls defeated the Sonics 87-75 in Game 6 of the Finals. After the game, played on Father's Day, Jordan dedicated the title to his late dad; this was Jordan's first championship since his father's death, and as it was coincidentally Father's Day, Jordan reacted very emotionally upon winning the title, including a memorable scene of him sobbing on the locker room floor with the game ball.
As during this season Jordan captured the MVP awards for the regular season, All-Star Game and Finals, he joined Willis Reed (1970) as the only men to win all three honors in the same season. He was also selected in 1996 as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History.
After his fourth championship he presented his "Michael Jordan Cologne", designed and distributed by Bijan Fragrances Inc., it was unveiled at a promotional appearance by him in Culver City, California on September 25, 1996. Thus he entered the world of businesses.
That year he also debuted as a film actor (he debuted as an actor in 1990 in an episode of Almost Alive!). On November 15, 1996 the animated film Space Jam, starred by Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang, was released. The movie grossed $230 million worldwide.
Space Jam had mixed critical response. Notable critic Roger Ebert gave Space Jam an enthusiastic "thumbs up," which Gene Siskel also gave the film although his zeal was more subdued. Leonard Maltin also gave the film a positive review. Some critics compared it unfavorably to Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a popular film in which cartoon characters (including The Looney Tunes) and live-action humans coexisted in the same film as well. Those who liked the film praised the visual effects, which were groundbreaking at the time.
Despite mixed reviews, Space Jam was a major box office success. In its opening weekend, it grossed $27,528,529 in the United States. At the end of its running, it grossed $90,418,342 in the United States and $230,418,342 worldwide. The film, for a period, was the highest grossing non-Disney animated film but has since been outgrossed by The Rugrats Movie, The Prince of Egypt and The Simpsons Movie.
In the 1996-1997 season the dominance of the Bulls led by Jordan would continue. On February 9, 1997 Jordan became the first player in All-Star Game history to record a triple-double, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in a 132-120 East victory in Cleveland. This year the Bulls were close to repeat the 70 seasons victories but they lost the final two games to finish the regular season 69-13. This year Jordan didn't make it either to the season's MVP Award, however the team advanced to the finals where they would face 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. On June 11, 1997, in critical game 5, with the series tied 2-2, Jordan scored 38 points (including the game-deciding three-pointer with less than a minute remaining) despite a horrible case of stomach flu, he would not let his team lose; that was a real proof of Michael's lack of selfishness, respect to his teammates and fans as well as a big love for the game. Finally on June 13, 1997 the Bulls won 90-88 and went on to win the series in six games, and their fifth championship. Jordan also received his fifth Finals MVP award. During that game Jordan topped himself with 39 points and 11 rebounds.
It is somewhat normal to have a team winning to consecutive championships, but not that much three consecutive ones, but two trilogies of consecutive victories is somewhat rare if not out of this world; but that is what exactly happended with the Bulls led by Michael Jordan in the 1997-1998 season.
That season the Bulls had a 62-20 wins performance, while Jordan led the league averaging 28.7 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, 3.5 assists per game and 1.7 steals per game; making to his fifth regular season MVP Award, honors for All-NBA First Team, First Defensive Team and the All-Star Game MVP.
In the finals, they were to face off the Utah Jazz again, in a six games series. After a 3-2 campaign in five games, positive to the Bulls, they went for the 6th game on June 14, 1998.
The game 6 of the 1997-1998 finals may be considered as one of the most notables in NBA history. With the Bulls trailing 86-83 with less than a minute remaining, Jackson called a timeout. Jordan received the inbounds pass, drove to the basket, and hit a layup over several 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 while pushing Russell with his left hand and faking him to his knees, then released a shot with just 5.2 seconds left, that would be rebroadcast countless times in years to come, that shot over Bryon Russell with just a few seconds left on the clock is etched in many fans mind and photographic history. 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 the Bulls secured a second three-peat, the second trilogy was a fact.
During the finals Jordan averaged 30 points per game, having poured 45 in the final 6th. He also made it to his 6th Fianals MVP Award, which is twice as much as any other player, it must be pointed out that the second place is held by Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Tim Duncan, the three of them having collected three Finals MVPs each.
According to Nielsen ratings the 1997-1998 finals measured the highest ratings they have in their data going back to 1974; must be added that the two historic final seasons peaks have been recorded in both 1993 and 1998, coincidentally the two three-peat finals and the two Jordan's retirement years; while game 6 holds the highest television rating of any game in NBA history; with a 22.3 rating and a 38% audience share for the NBC-aired NBA Finals. NBC's six-game average rating was a record 18.7, topping the previous mark of 17.9 set in the 1993 Finals between the Phoenix Suns and the Bulls. Coincidence or not, this is other of the things Jordan caused, with his magnificent game, drawing the attention of fans and not so fans.
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, Jordan said, "Right now I don't have the mental challenges that I have had in the past to proceed as a basketball player." He also mentioned he would like to spend more time with his wife, Juanita, and their three children, Jeffrey, Marcus, and Jasmine; and finally paid tribute to a Chicago Police officer slain on duty just days before of his press conference. Despite not playing for three seasons during his second retirement, Jordan was still probably the most recognizable athlete in the world.
On January 19, 2000, Jordan returned to the NBA not as a player, but as part owner and President of Basketball Operations of the underachieving Washington Wizards, who perennially disappointed their patriarch, Abe Pollin, who built them a downtown arena that fans rarely pack. "
This is new to me, being in a city to give my support to another team," Jordan said at a news conference held on the team's practice court in the basement of the MCI Center. "Normally, I'm in support of the Bulls." But the Bulls were a moribund 6-30 team that Jordan led, in a better incarnation, to six National Basketball Association titles. Although he was the president of basketball operations of the Wizards, would not leave Chicago. He decided he would commute from his adopted hometown. "I'll be here as much as it takes to turn this team around," he said, looking out on several hundred reporters and employees of the Wizards of the N.B.A., Capitals of the National Hockey League and the arena, who jammed the ramps off the court.
The anointing of Jordan as the executive savior also brought out the District Mayor Anthony A. Williams. "He will show our children what it takes to be an executive," he said. "He will electrify the city."
"This team is underachieving," Jordan said. He was kind. He never said who was not performing up to his abilities. He has watched the team by satellite, but insists that his assessments will not be based on his home viewing. "
It can be changes; it can be motivation," he said, adding: "We have a good team. Do we have a championship-quality team? That remains to be seen." Must be added that The Wizards had won their only NBA title in 1978, when they were the Washington Bullets.
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 Jordan switched the ball from his right to his left hand in mid-air. If Michael Jordan was out of basketball, it was certainly hard to tell.
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.
Jordan disappointedly witnessed his team win 19 games in the 2000-2001 season, his first full season as President of Basketball Operations, after winning only 29 games the season before. He completely overhauled the roster, hired Doug Collins, his coach in his early years with the Bulls, and began the Wizards rebuilding phase. But no one had expected the turn of events that were leading into the 2001-2002 season.
Michael Jordan's burning competitive desire to succeed motivated him to return once again as a basketball player, and turn the Wizards franchise around. Jordan began training, informing the media, at first, he was only doing it to lose weight. He worked himself into basketball shape during the summer by holding several invitation-only camps of pickup games with other NBA players at a Chicago gym. Jordan suffered three setbacks during his comeback summer workouts, raising questions as to whether his 38-year old body can endure a NBA 82 game schedule.
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. One day after that the most unfortunate attack in the history of the United States of America shocked the whole world. On September 25, 2001, two weeks to the day after the terrorist attacks that shook the nation, Jordan announced that he had stepped down from the Wizards front office and out of retirement, and that he would be donating his entire 2001-02 salary ($1 million) to victims of 9/11.
In the announcement he declared: "I am returning as a player to the game I love," said Jordan. "I am especially excited about the Washington Wizards, and I'm convinced we have the foundation on which to build a playoff-contention team."
In an injury-plagued 2001-02 season, he played through pain and led the team in scoring 22.9 points per game, 5.2 assists per game and 1.42 steals per game, almost leading the young Wizards to the playoffs in the process. Additionally, Jordan’s presence resulted in 41 sellouts in 41 games 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. Sadly, though, injuries ended Jordan’s season after only 60 games, his least number of games played in a full season since the 1985-86 season (when he had broken his foot).
Ironically, Jordan achieved another moment in his spectacular career, scoring his 30,000th career point on January 4, 2002 against his former team, the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan returned for the 2002-03 season newly fitted with orthotic insoles to help his knees. 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 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 per game, 6.1 rebounds per game, 3.8 assists per game, and 1.5 steals per game in his final year, shot 45% from the field, and 82% from the free throw line.
Although the Wizards failed to make the playoffs in Jordan's two years. But still, moments of the great Jordan were apparent such as scoring 40 points a few days after his 40th birthday. On February 23, 2003 Jordan became the first 40-year-old to reach the 40-point plateau, scoring 43 to lead the Washington Wizards to an 89-86 victory over the New Jersey Nets. Just two weeks before his 40th birthday. He made 18-of-30 shots from the floor, 7-of-8 free throws and grabbed 10 rebounds. "It didn't even dawn on me, being the first 40-year-old to hit 40," Jordan said. "I read it on the stat sheet and thought it was a misprint. I set the tone early that I wanted to win this game." The Wizards had won for just the fifth time in their last 13 games and remained tied with Orlando for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
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.
As it was recognizable 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.
The Miami Heat retired his #23 jersey, honoring Jordan, on April 11, 2003, even though he never played for the Heat. 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 MJ’s final NBA game, on April 16, 2003. 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 4th 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, and at the buzzer, he sank his last two free throws, and then exited to a standing ovation of an audience of 21,257 persons, which would last over three minutes.
Thus, Michael Jordan's fabulous career came to an end amid cheers and tears as his Washington Wizards were trounced 107-87 by the Philadelphia 76ers, who clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. "
Basketball has been my life," Jordan said. "No way you would ever have come in contact with me without the game of basketball. No way would I have been in contact with a lot of other people without the game of basketball. It gave me an outlet. It gave me a chance to experience life all over the world, not just here in the States. It taught me a lot of things about life in terms of respect, hard work, determination, achievement, setting goals, a lot of basic things in life. I've used the game as much as the game has used me, as a method of teaching the game and passing on the correct way to play the game. It obviously gave me a lot of opportunities in terms of materialistic things as well as being able to touch people's lives. We've been a great relationship. It's been like my best friend, but sometimes you have to grow up and move away from your best friend. It's always going to be there in my mind and nothing is going to erase what I have attained just by having basketball as a friend."
He left as a player to return to an ownership and executive role with the belief that with the cluster of young stars, the NBA was in fine shape.
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 drafting Kwame Brown with the first pick in the 2001 draft, 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 what would follow is a successful career as a businessman.
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).
Since 2004, Jordan has owned a professional closed-course motorcycle roadracing team that competes in the premier Superbike class sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA).
In March, 2006 Michael Jordan and his wife Juanita donated U$S 5 millions to the Hales Franciscan High School.
He also donated through Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, Inc., U$S500,000 to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Louisiana's Slidell Unit, to help build a new athletic gymnasium. Michael Jordan and All-Stars Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul joined more than 250 community leaders and New Orleans-area youth for the official dedication and check presentation ceremony. The Slidell Boys & Girls Club was one of 16 Gulf region Boys & Girls Clubs damaged in Hurricane Katrina. The location was completely gutted and the facilities were in ruins. "
The Boys and Girls Clubs of America has been a visible contributor to the families and children of New Orleans, during and post Hurricane Katrina," said Michael Jordan. "Slidell is a community that has been somewhat overlooked in recovery efforts and we are proud to aid with its rebuilding and leave a lasting legacy for the community."
As division of NIKE, Inc., Jordan Brand is a premium brand of footwear, apparel and accessories inspired by the dynamic legacy, vision and direct involvement of Michael Jordan. The Jordan Brand made its debut in 1997 and has grown into a complete collection of performance and lifestyle products for both men and women.
Then on June 15, 2006 he became a part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, having the largest individual holding of the team after majority owner Robert L. Johnson. Jordan became the Managing Member of Basketball Operations for the Bobcats ownership group. "
I’m thrilled to have my friend, Michael Jordan, join me in my business and sports pursuits," said Johnson, Chairman and CEO of The RLJ Companies and the Charlotte Bobcats. "I not only respect Michael for his basketball knowledge and expertise, but also for his business skills, particularly in branding and marketing. Michael will provide invaluable management input to a Bobcats team that is poised to deliver results for the 2006-2007 season and beyond."
On December 29, 2006 Michael Jordan and his wife Juanita divorced after 17 years of marriage. They mutually and amicably decided to end their marriage. However in court documents filed with the Lake County Circuit Court, the couple said "irreconcilable differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage." The couple said attempts to reconcile their marriage had failed and future ones "would be impractical and not in the best interests of the family."
Juanita Jordan previously filed for divorce in January 2002 but withdrew her petition a month later when the couple announced they were attempting a reconciliation.
They had already been living separately since February, 2006, and accorded to share custody of their children, according to court documents.
According to Forbes it is the most expensive celebrity divorce in history. It is said that Juanita received a $168 million settlement.
On July 21, 2006, a Cook County, Illinois judge determined that Jordan did not owe a former lover, Karla Knafel, $5 million for an affair they had in 1991. Knafel's attorney, Michael Hannafan, said his client and Jordan had a sexual relationship from 1989 to 1991 in Chicago, Indianapolis and Phoenix. Knafel discovered she was pregnant shortly after being with Jordan in November 1990, Hannafan said. At that time, she believed the child was Jordan's, he said. Jordan then offered her $5 million to buy her silence about their relationship and about the child she thought was his, Hannafan said. "It was Jordan who initially offered to pay her $5 million in the spring of 1991 for her agreement not to file a public paternity proceeding and for keeping their sexual relationship publicly confidential," Hannafan said in filing a breach of contract lawsuit against Jordan. However Blood and DNA testing performed after the child's birth in July 1991 determined Jordan was not the father. Jordan contended in court documents that once tests determined that he did not father the child, Knafel and her attorneys agreed to a $250,000 payment. He denied ever agreeing to pay the $5 million.
As of 2007, Jordan lives in Highland Park, Illinois, north of Chicago, and both of his sons attended Loyola Academy, a private Roman Catholic high school located in Wilmette, Illinois.
Michael Jordan's son Jeffrey Michael Jordan was born on November 18, 1988. He is a college basketball player for the University of Illinois. He played high school basketball for Loyola Academy. Jeffrey Jordan has been the subject of local and national media attention, and had three of his games broadcast nationally on ESPN in 2007. Jordan also played football in his sophomore year at Loyola Academy. Jeffrey graduated from Loyola Academy on May 26, 2007. He received scholarship offers from Valparaiso and Loyola University Chicago, and was actively recruited as a preferred walk-on by Davidson, Penn State, Northwestern, and University of Illinois. Jeffrey has decided to play as a preferred walk-on at the University of Illinois. Jeff Jordan enrolled at the university in 2007 as a psychology major with an academic scholarship.
Michael Jordan's other son Marcus Jordan was born on December 24, 1990. He was transnsferred in the fall of 2007 from Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois. He also briefly attended Francis W. Parker School for one semester of his 5th grade year. Jordan is projected as a "top-conference major-college point guard" by scouts.
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, Mike Bibby, 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, 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.
Beginning in 1991, Jordan appeared in ProStars, an NBC Saturday morning cartoon. The show featured Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, and Bo Jackson fighting crime and helping children.
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.
Jordan's income from the endorsements is estimated to be several hundred million dollars. He also set records in players salary. In 1997 he signed a one-year contract with the Bulls that would pay him between $33 million and $36 million. It must be pointed out that most of Jordan's endorsement deals, including the first deal with Nike, were engineered by his agent, David Falk.
At the turn of the 21st century, ESPN, the preeminent all-sports network, conducted an expansive survey of media members, athletes and others associated with the sports world to rank the 20th century's greatest athletes. Jordan topped the list above Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali -- substantiating his link to those earlier cultural icons.
No player in NBA history has achieved so much in any amount of time. He is a five-time league MVP, a ten-time scoring champion, a six-time Finals MVP, and houses six NBA championships. He finished his career with 32,292 points, and a career average 30.12 points per game, the best in NBA history. Jordan has now officially passed the torch to the younger stars. "Now I can go home and feel at peace with the game of basketball," said Jordan.
James Raymond Jordan, Sr. was born on July 31, 1936 in rural North Carolina, the first child born to sharecropper William Jordan and his wife Rosa Bell Jordan.
Appropriately enough, the Jordans met at a basketball game in 1954. James Raymond Jordan – Deloris always called him Ray – played at Charity High School in rural Wallace, NC, and competed against her older brothers at Pender County Training School outside Wilmington. After one look at her, Ray jokingly told her, "One day I’m going to marry you!". One day, James showed up at Deloris' home and asked her father if he could take her out. At first her Dad said no, but James Jordan persistence paid off. They quickly fell in love and dated steadily for the next three years.
After high school, James joined the Air Force and was sent to San Antonio, TX; and Deloris went to a trade school in Alabama. But the couple soon decided they wanted to be together. James was soon transferred to a base in Virginia, they got married, and Deloris moved in with his parents. Their first son, James Ronald (Ronnie), was born the following year. Daughter Delois (named after Deloris) was born soon after. James decided not to go back into the Air Force and came home to work with a local textile mill. They built their first home across the street from his parents. By the time their third child, Larry, was born three years later, the Jordans dreamed of a better life and moved to New York where Ray attended a trade school on the GI Bill (The G.I. Bill, officially titled Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, provided for college or vocational education for returning World War II veterans, as well as one year of unemployment compensation. It also provided many different types of loans for returning veterans to buy homes and start businesses) to learn how to work with hydraulic equipment. Michael was born while they lived in New York. Daughter Roslyn was born the following year when they returned to North Carolina.
He began a career at General Electric in 1967, moving up to become a parts department manager; while Deloris, his wife labored full-time at a bank. He retired from GE in the late 1980s, at which time the Jordan family moved from Wilmington, North Carlolina, where Michael Jordan grew up, to the suburbs of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Those who knew both James and Michael Jordan noted that Michael was very much like his father. Both had shaved heads, and both stuck their tongues out when concentrating on a difficult task—in Michael's case, when lining up a shot. Their handwriting was alike enough that many people couldn't tell them apart. Proud supporters of Michael Jordan's basketball playing from the beginning, James Jordan and his wife, Michael's mother Deloris, never missed a game Michael played in during his time at the University of North Carolina. "
Raising my five kids was truly a big-team effort," Deloris said. Integral to the family’s strength was their faith in God. Church attendance was mandatory, Deloris says, no matter what activities they participated in the evening before. "Church, like education, was one of those nonnegotiable priorities in the Jordan family," she says. "Regular weekly attendance wasn’t merely expected of our children; it was required."
On the morning of Friday July 23, 1993, 8 days before his 57th birthday, James Jordan was murdered while driving home to Charlotte, N.C., from longtime friend Willie Kemp's funeral when he stopped his car to rest. The 56-year-old Jordan was shot in the chest with a .38 caliber handgun, apparently after he parked his car to take a nap along the gravel entrance to a store on U.S. 74 near Lumberton in southeastern North Carolina.
His body was found floating in a South Carolina creek on August 3, 1993, and was not identified until August 13, 1993.
On Sunday August 15, 1993 officials arrested Larry Martin Demery of Rowland, N.C., and Daniel Andre Green of Lumberton, on charges of murder, armed robbery and conspiracy.
Cumberland County, NC Sheriff Morris Bedsole said "They had conspired to rob before they left home. I don't know if they knew who, what or where. This is what they ended up with."
Green was paroled in June, 1993 after serving less than two years for a conviction in Robeson Count for assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and armed robbery. Demery was under indictment for armed robbery and out on bond. They then went through his thinks and found out whom they had killed. "
Once they knew it was Michael Jordan's father, they tried to cover their tracks the best they could," by taking the body to South Carolina, said Captain Art Binder of the Cumberland Sheriff's Department.
The suspects drove Jordan's car 30 miles south to McColl, SC, where they dumped the body in a creek, then drove back to Fayetteville, Binder reported.
They apparently kept the car, a red Lexus 400, for three days before abandoning it near Fayetteville, police said. The car was seen in and around a trailer park where Green lived.
The car ended up in the hands of several youths who drove it for a while, then stripped it of parts. It was found on August 5, 1993 on a secluded dirt road near Fayetteville, in Cumberland County, but officials did not know until August 11, 1993 it belonged to Jordan.
Green and Demery were arrested at the Robeson County Sherfffs Department after being called in for questioning.
His widow, Deloris, and their five children had words of encouragement in a prepared statement: "Dad is no longer with us. But the lessons he taught us will give us the strength to move forward with a renewed sense of purpose in our lives."
About 200 people attended James Jordan Sr. services, including a number of personal friends of the Jordan family like University of North Carolina basketball coach Dean Smith and Chicago Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong.
James Jordan was buried alongside his grandfather and parents in the graveyard of the Rockfish African-American Methodist Episcopal Church in Teachey, North Carolina. His tombstone reads simply, as reported by Dupont, "James Jordan, 1936-1993."
After her husband’s murder in 1993, Deloris realized her husband’s killers were “two boys who didn’t know love.” She began to reach out and help other kids and their families. Deloris says there are three words that aren’t spoken enough today: "I love you." She wants to remind parents to say these words to their children daily. In her work with "under-served" families, Deloris observed that "I love you" is not said nearly enough. "And more than anything," she says, "incorporate prayer into your family life."
Through the James R. Jordan Foundation, Deloris is able to encourage under-served youth to excel in their educational endeavors. To assist in making this possible, the Foundation builds strong networks of support for youth, helps parents get more involved in the educational life of their children, and implements programs through which they encourage youth to strive to do their best. Their mentoring program motivates young people to excel academically.
Deloris Jordan is the president of the James R. Jordan Foundation and the founder/president of De'Laro, Inc./Family First, she has also been appointed as a member of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) National Demand Reduction Advisory Council by DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson.
Deloris and Roslyn M. Jordan (Michael's sister) have written and published a book titled "Salt in His Shoes". A wonderful story told with warmth and sensitivity by Deloris Jordan about her young son Michael, who would one day grow up to be the legendary basketball star. Based on events in Micheal Jordan's life, this book tells the story of how he was determined to make his dreams of being a star basketball player come true--with the support and love of his family. Young Michael Jordan, who was smaller than the other players, learned that determination and hard work are more important than size when playing the game of basketball.
James R. Jordan: James Ronald Jordan is the oldest of Michael's siblings, he was born in North Carolina in 1957. James Jordan forged a distinguished career in the Army. Jordan, who stands about 5 feet 7 inches, rose to become command sergeant major of the 35th Signal Brigade, the Army's only airborne signal brigade, based at Fort Bragg. That's the top job for an enlisted signal soldier. "
Jordan may be short in height when it comes to his brother, but, man, he scored a slam dunk every time as a sergeant major," said Command Sergeant Major Joseph Allen, the senior noncommissioned officer of Fort Bragg and the 18th Airborne Corps. When Michael Jordan became an NBA star in the 1980s, his older brother had already spent about a decade in the military.
James stated: "One of the first things I learned before I went into the Army was that I was the oldest of five kids," he said. "My mom told me, `You have to earn everything you get.' "
In 2004 He has asked to stay in the Army for a year beyond his mandatory retirement date so he can complete a full yearlong deployment to Iraq with about 500 other members of the 35th Signal Brigade. "
We are currently at war," Jordan said before the unit started shipping out. "We are doing things, and it requires leaders to do certain things. That's what I am, a leader."
Under normal conditions, James Jordan would wind down his Army career in the spring of 2004 as he approached the 30-year mark, but he had no intention of getting on an airplane April 29, 2004 and coming home. "That's not the way you want to end a 30-year career,"
James Jordan said. As the senior enlisted soldier in the brigade of 2,450 soldiers, he had kept a low profile at Fort Bragg and avoided calling attention to his family connection. "If you don't believe in selfless service, you are not going to make it in this business," said James.
He was 36, wearing the stripes of a first sergeant, when he went to airborne school, where most soldiers are in their teens or early 20s. Three years of Junior ROTC during high school in Wilmington, NC convinced Jordan that the Army was for him. "I figured I wanted to be a soldier, plus I was the oldest of five kids," he said. "I wanted to get out of the house and do something myself."
James retired in 2006 as the Command Sergeant Major of the 35th Signal Brigade of the XVIII Airborne Corps in the U.S. Army; the Corps of the United States Army are designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world. It is referred to as "America's Contingency Corps" and is the Army's largest warfighting organization.
His troops' dedication to him was evident during a retirement ceremony at Fort Bragg April 13, 2006. "
Do you know that, even though Michael Jordan was out there, everybody was still in line to shake Sergeant Major Jordan's hand, not to pay homage to his brother," Allen said. "I thought that was so cool."
Deloris E. Jordan: Deloris E. Jordan is the second oldest of the five children born to James and Deloris Jordan and eldest sister of NBA superstar, Michael Jordan. In her autobiography, she writes candidly about the pain and the difficulties of trying to be her own person in the face of her brother's fame, her family's public notoriety and the public's expectations.
Deloris E's path to victory took her through a multitude of life-changing experiences that shaped the profound insights she enthusiastically shares with others. A neglected and emotionally abused child who faced the world alone, Deloris E. soon found herself a teenage mother. Deloris E. took control of her life when she walked out of her father-dominated marriage and entered University North Carolina at Wilmington. She moved to Philadelphia with her children and became a real estate agent. Deloris E. combined her passion with her life's lessons and embarked on a writing career. In 1999, Deloris started her own publishing company, Jordan Signature Publishing Inc.
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.
Commentators have dubbed a number of players “the next Michael Jordan” upon their entry to the NBA, including Grant Hill, Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter, and LeBron James. 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.
An ESPN survey of journalists, athletes and other sports figures ranked Jordan the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century, above icons such as Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali. Jordan placed second to Babe Ruth in the Associated Press's list of 20th century athletes. In addition, the Associated Press voted him as the basketball player of the 20th century. Jordan has also appeared on the front cover of Sports Illustrated a record 49 times.
In the September 1996 issue of Sport, which was the publication's 50th anniversary issue, Jordan was named the greatest athlete of the past 50 years.
Television ratings in particular increased only during his time in the league and have subsequently lowered each time he left the game.
Attended the University of North Carolina.
Drafted: 1st Rd-Pick 3 Chicago, 1984. Drafted behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie.
Salary: Earns about $80 million from Nike/Earned $35 million a year playing in the NBA.
He has his own line of sport clothing called JORDAN. [1997-98 season]
Chosen by People Magazine as one of The Most Intriguing People of the Century.  Chosen by People magazine as one of the 50 Most Beautiful People in the world. 
Two-time Olympic gold medalist in men's basketball, in 1984 in L.A. and 1992 in Barcelona (as part of the celebrated original Dream Team).
He has three children with ex-wife Juanita: two sons Jeffrey Michael born on November 18, 1988 and Marcus James born on December 24, 1990 and one daughter Jasmine Mickael born on December 7, 1992.
In January 2002, wife Juanita filed for divorce in circuit court in Waukegan, Illinois, citing "irreconcilable differences." She sought permanent custody of the couple's three children, their 25,000-square-foot home in Highland Park and half the couple's property. She withdrew the divorce papers a month later only to re-file them seven years later.
Fortune estimated at $400 million. A virtual endorsement cash cow, no athlete has had a larger impact on the economy.
Attended Laney High School in Wilmington, NC. The gymnasium is now called the "Michael Jordan Gym" in his honor.
Buys custom-tailored shirts monogrammed with "Michael" or "MJ".
Moved past Wilt Chamberlain for third-place all-time on the NBA scoring list [23 January 2003].
Jordan is a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity and has the omega letter (Ω) tattooed on his chest.
Jordan is a notorious cigar smoker, he was often seen with a cigar in the locker room during championship celebrations.
Fired by the Washington Wizards due to player dissension, the team finishing 37-45 two years in a row, and dissonance in the organization involving Jordan's people. Jordan was hired on 19 January 2000 as chief executive and president of basketball operations. Owner Abe Pollin gave him free rein to run the Wizards, and Jordan eventually bought a percentage of the team. He got $10 million in severance. (7 May 2003).
In a 1988 game against the Utah Jazz, he dunked over John Stockton, who was 6' 1" and 175 pounds. A Jazz fan heckled him, saying, "Why don't you dunk on somebody your own size?" The next trip down the floor, Jordan dunked again, this time on 6' 11", 285-lb. center 'Melvin Turpin'. He then turned to the fan and said, "Was he big enough?".
Wore the #23 for his NBA career with the Chicago Bulls, and the Washington Wizards.
Sometimes wore the #45 because it was his older brother Larry's number in high school.
Neither of his parents are more than 5' 9" tall.
In Space Jam (1996), he tells the Looney Tunes that he used to wear his UNC shorts under his Bulls jersey in every game he played in. He really did do this, as a good luck charm. Has numerous records and awards under his name and career, including most points in a single playoff game (63), most scoring titles (10), highest scoring average (31 points per game), and most three pointers in one quarter of a playoff game (5).
Known as the world's greatest clutch player in basketball for his numerous shots and high-flying moves to win games.
He eliminated the Cleveland Cavaliers twice from the NBA playoffs due to last-second shots, and won his last NBA championship with a steal and a shot. The Chicago Bulls' all-time leader in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
The only category he doesn't hold is blocks, still held by Artis Gilmore.
His #23 is one of four retired numbers for the Bulls (along with Bob Love's #10, Scottie Pippen's #33 and Jerry Sloan's #4). While most are familiar with his obvious #23 and the #45 he wore when he returned from a brief baseball career in 1995, Jordan also wore #12. However, he wore it in only one game--in 1990 after an Orlando Magic Arena employee stole his uniform. It was a back-up jersey and did not even feature a last name. He scored 49 points in the game, leading the Bulls win over the Magic.
While his baseball career was considered a sham and widely criticized, his performance was not as poor as depicted in the press. While he only batted .202 with 3 Home Runs and committed 11 errors, he also had 51 runs batted in, 30 stolen bases, and 6 outfield assists.
He led the Birmingham Barons with 11 bases-loaded RBI and 25 RBI with runners in scoring position and two outs. With those statistics, he may have been the best clutch hitter on that team.
On 14 June 1998, Jordan made a shot that won the Chicago Bulls their 6th NBA championship in 8 years.
"Jordan Hits the Last Shot" was ranked #2 in TV Guide's July 17, 2005 issue list of the "25 Most Awesome Sports Moments of the last 15 years".
His 37.1 points per game season average during the 1986-1987 season was the third highest in history. The first two were both held by Wilt Chamberlain.
Contrary to popular belief, Jordan does not hold the regular season single game scoring record. Wilt Chamberlain has the highest at 100, followed by Kobe Bryant at 81, David Thompson at 73 and David Robinson at 71. Jordan's single game-scoring high was 69 points, making his the fifth highest single-game scoring record in history. His 1992 playoff game against the Portland Trailblazers, where he had 35 first-half points and nailed seven three-pointers in a row, has been claimed by many as "the closest anyone has ever come to playing a perfect game of basketball."
Ironically, Jordan was bypassed in the 1984 draft by the Trailblazers, who picked Sam Bowie instead, a move that has gone down in history as one of the biggest draft-day blunders ever.
Participated in three slam dunk contests, winning two of them.
Reinvented some of the traditions and rules in basketball. Started the trend of the long-length shorts. He claims he wore them that length so he could cover up his North Carolina shorts, which he always wore during his pro career. However, his style caught on, and soon mostly everyone wore their shorts at a longer length. A new rule also was invented were a player could take one extra step if he was in the process of shooting, passing, or driving to the hoop. This was because of how Jordan would do this quite often in his career without getting a traveling call.
Showing just how truly talented he was, Jordan's rookie three-point average was around 14%. By his last season he got it up to around 40%.
Also, known for his poor defense, rebounding and assists, Jordan became a regular on the NBA All-Defense team, won the defensive player of the year award and one season averaged eight assists and eight rebounds to go with 35 points, the closest a player has come to averaging a triple-double since Oscar Robertson did. During his record performance of 63 points against the Boston Celtics in the playoffs, Larry Bird claimed that Jordan was "God disguised as Michael Jordan.".
Played with the Chicago Bulls for 14 years, 1984-1998, and with the Washington Wizards for 2 years, 2001-2003.
Topped "Forbes" magazine's "The 10 Most Expensive Celebrity Divorces", with an estimated settlement of $150 million (April 2007).
The first of Jordan's many, many paychecks is for the modest amount of $119.76 on July 20, 1980 (exactly 11 years after the first landing of the man on the moon) compensation for 47 hours of maintenance work at El Barta Restaurant and Motor Inn in Wilmington.
James Lafferty's character Nathan Scott wears Jordan's number 23 on One Tree Hill.
In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated his earnings for the year at $31 million.
Lives in Chicago in the area of Highland Park, Illinois; north of the city.
His two sons play basketball too.
Karla Knafel, the woman who allegedly had a sexual relationship with Jordan from 1989 to 1991, made $250,000 in hush money from the Bulls star. Jordan filed suit against Knafel last October, claiming she was threatening to take their relationship public if he didn't give her $5 million. In a countersuit, Knafel said Jordan agreed on that figure when it was unclear whether or not he was the father of her unborn child.
Richard Esquinas, former San Diego businessman who claimed to have played more than 100 rounds of golf with Jordan throughout four summers -- from 1989 through 1992 -- said he won golfing bets totaling $900,000. Esquinas, who is now a yoga instructor in Columbus, Ohio, says Jordan eventually paid him $200,000.
Ray Clay, the announcer of the Bulls from 1990-2002 received a raise -- from $50 to $80 per game -- during his tenure with the Bulls. Thanks to Jordan, Clay also was paid to do voiceovers in movies, TV shows and video games.
Having Jordan as a client undoubtedly helped David Falk become the most powerful sports agent in the NBA in the '80s and '90s. From 1992 to 1998, Falk's company, F.A.M.E., reportedly negotiated more than $400 million in contracts for his clients. Six years ago, he sold the firm to SFX for $100 million.
Suntory, the Japanese liquor producer and distributor owned the Chicago White Sox's Class AA affiliate, the Birmingham Barons, when Jordan tried out baseball during his first respite from basketball in 1994. Jordan's presence led to a franchise-record 467,867 fans that season -- worth, ironically, roughly $2.3 million in gross ticket sales.
In 1996, Jordan teamed up with Bugs and other Warner Brothers characters to make "Space Jam." The movie grossed $230 million at the box office, $230 million in memorabilia sales and $209 million on the home video market. Jordan made more than $15 million on the film. No word on what Bugs made.
Jordan's image has been used to sell more than 5 million Sport Illustrated magazines on the newsstand. During his career, he has appeared on 52 SI covers. Muhammad Ali is a distant second as top-billed athlete -- 15 covers behind.
"The Jordan Rules" to "Playing For Keeps," more than 50 writers, Sam Smith, David Halberstam, Pat Williams and Robert Lipsyte, earned royalties by penning books about His Airness. MJ's switch to the Wizards has been a boon for majority owner Abe Pollin, who has paid Jordan only $2 million over two seasons. Although the Wizards didn't make the playoffs, Jordan's presence attracted plenty of people to the MCI Center. The Wizards sold out all 82 regular-season home games over the past two seasons and were the only NBA team to average more than 20,000 fans during that streak. That represents a 33 percent increase in attendance and more than $18 million in additional gross ticket revenue.
Ticket brokers and scalpers benefited from Jordan's popularity by charging huge mark-ups for Bulls games in the '90s. "It was like having a Super Bowl 41 times a year," said Waisvisz, part owner of Gold Coast Tickets. With the money earned from the Jordan years, Waisvisz said he and his partners purchased a rooftop overlooking Wrigley Field for $2.5 million in 2001.
For seven years the Michael Jordan Foundation supported many charitable endeavors. Jordan donated one million dollars to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to help establish an institute for families at the university's School of Social Work, dedicated to studying how poverty, child abuse, teenage pregnancy and care for the elderly impacts families.
Jordan raised nearly $500,000 at the second annual Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational at the Ocean Club Golf Course on Paradise Island in the Bahamas. (September 24, 2002)
Now I guess it hits me that I'm not going to be in a uniform anymore -- and that's not a terrible feeling. It's something that I've come to grips with, and it's time. This is the final retirement.
If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
Republicans buy shoes too.
I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot... and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that's precisely why I succeed.
I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying.
Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
To be successful you have to be selfish, or else you never achieve. And once you get to your highest level, then you have to be unselfish. Stay reachable. Stay in touch. Don't isolate.
There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren't willing to sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships.
My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.
I've always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come. I don't do things half-heartedly. Because I know if I do, then I can expect half-hearted results.
I know fear is an obstacle for some people, but it is an illusion to me . . . Failure always made me try harder next time.
I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.
I play to win, whether during practice or a real game. And I will not let anything get in the way of me and my competitive enthusiasm to win.
Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.
My body could stand the crutches but my mind couldn't stand the sideline.
If you accept the expectations of others, especially negative ones, then you never will change the outcome.
The game is my wife. It demands loyalty and responsibility, and it gives me back fulfillment and peace.
Just play. Have fun. Enjoy the game.
People ask me if I could fly, I said, "yeah.... for a little while."
I never thought a role model should be negative.
I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.
Even when I'm old and grey, I won't be able to play it, but I'll still love the game.
As athletes, we're used to reacting quickly. Here, it's 'come, stop, come, stop.' There's a lot of downtime. That's the toughest part of the day.
Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.
I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot... when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.
It's heavy duty to try to do everything and please everybody . . . My job was to go out there and play the game of basketball as best I can, ... People may not agree with that . . . I can't live with what everyone's impression of what I should or what I shouldn't do.
There is no "i" in team but there is in win.
I realize that I'm black, but I like to be viewed as a person, and this is everybody's wish.
But my drive to win is so great ... I just step over that line. ... It's very embarrassing, ... one of the things you totally regret. So you look at yourself in the mirror and say, 'I was stupid.'
My heroes are and were my parents. I can't see having anyone else as my heroes.
I'm sorry to see it end,
I never looked at the consequences of missing a big shot . . . when you think about the consequences you always think of a negative result.
I don't want this to feel like a funeral.
They should have never made that call, ... They complained about the refs all year.
[Jordan, 42, said he could still make a contribution to an NBA team.] Even though, physically, I can't do it, the mind says, 'Yeah, I can still do it,' and I still think I can do it better than most in the NBA, ... Driven From Within.
The good part about being famous is being able to help people. The hard part is every day you have to be in a good mood, because that is what people expect. You learn to get good at it.
Over the next two years, we'll see a lot of change,
[The city told him it was not their responsibility] even though it's their property, ... They said, if you want it done, do it yourself.
I am hooked. Next year, I am looking to expand the team, looking to compete. I want to win.
I'm not out there sweating for three hours every day just to find out what it feels like to sweat.
What others said about Michael Jordan
He's certainly a great player. Is he the greatest in his category? I wouldn't say that. A guy like Elgin Baylor got less publicity. Wilt, Russell, there are many great players. You can name the 15 greatest. He'd probably be in that category.
He's the best ever because of his combination of skills, his competitiveness. Russell, Wilt, Kareem dominated because of their size, but they didn't have Michael's skills.
He's the greatest player who ever lived, a unique attraction. He's such a competitor. He forced the players around him to play at a higher level. He's a competitor. That describes a special player. When the sport loses him, it's like losing Babe Ruth in baseball. I've never seen a player who can do what he did.
He'll surely be missed the first year or two out. He sold out buildings because people want to see him. He got a lot of people who were not fans watching the game. There's nobody on the horizon to take his place, not Grant Hill and not Kobe Bryant. He's the player of the century.
Credited Works / Feats:
Basketball Career achievements:
Awards and recognitions:
Television appearances (Specials):
(In archive footage) The Journey of the African-American Athlete,1996
Television appearances (Episodic):
He sticks his tongue out when making amazing dunks or layups.