The name Michael Jordan is synonymous with basketball greatness. Throughout his career, he has established himself as a force to be reckoned with and a player who had no rival. His rise to fame began in 1982 when he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls, and since then he has achieved global notoriety that transcends basketball.
His Airness is most famously remembered for his unmatched athleticism on the court. But there were other qualities that made him the undeniable greatest of all time: his competitiveness, passion, confidence and fierce loyalty to his team members. From clutch shots at the buzzer to mesmerizing dunks, Michael Jordan’s rise to prominence and eventual international celebrity status set him apart from any player before him or since.
In this article, we will explore Michael Jordan’s career from start to finish; from his early years at North Carolina University, through his iconic time with the Chicago Bulls – when His Airness won six NBA championships – up until his second retirement from basketball in 2003. Are you ready to take a trip down memory lane? Let’s go!
Early Life and College Career at UNC
From an early age, Michael Jordan was set on a path for greatness. He grew up in North Carolina, where he fell in love with the game of basketball. He began playing in high school and went on to attend the University of North Carolina (UNC) to continue his education and hone his basketball skills.
At UNC, Jordan quickly made a name for himself as an unstoppable force on the court. He led the Tar Heels to an NCAA Championship in 1982 and earned a spot on the All-American team two times. In 1984, he won college player of the year and was a part of the gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic Basketball Team at the Los Angeles Olympics that same year.
Even more impressive was Jordan’s noted perseverance on court: during his junior year at UNC, he achieved one of college basketball’s greatest feats when he hit “the shot” – a last-second jump shot against Georgetown that brought his team victory in a memorable collegiate National Championship game. This shot sealed Jordan’s place in college basketball history and earned him the title “His Airness” – a nickname that would become synonymous with him throughout his NBA career and beyond.
Getting Drafted by the Chicago Bulls
It all began in 1984—the Chicago Bulls added the 6’6″ guard from the University of North Carolina and the rest is history. Michael Jordan, or “His Airness,” as he was soon to be known, quickly rose to stardom with an array of awe-inspiring dunks, gravity-defying layup attempts, and mesmerizing drives to the hoop.
Jordan’s renowned career was characterized by an array of accomplishments, including:
- Six-time NBA Champion
- Five-time MVP
- 10-time All NBA First Team Selection
- 14-time All Star Selections
- 11-time Scoring Champion
- Defensive Player of the Year Award Winner
- Hall of Fame Inductee
In addition to his lengthy list of awards and accolades, Jordan famously made one iconic game-winning shot with seconds left on the clock against Craig Ehlo and the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1989—dubbed “The Shot.” This clutch play helped propel Jordan into superstardom and spurred numerous marketing campaigns for his signature shoe line. With his undeniable basketball greatness combined with his unprecedented business savvy, Michael Jordan has cemented himself as one of the most influential athletes of all time.
Dominating the NBA in the 80s: Rookie of the Year and Scoring Titles
Michael Jordan entered the NBA in 1984, one of the most highly anticipated rookies of all time. It didn’t take long for him to prove he was worth the hype. In his very first season, he won the Rookie of the Year Award and was named an All-Star for the first time.
The following season, Jordan began his ascent to superstardom by winning the first of 10 scoring titles, a single-season record that still stands today. He averaged an impressive 37 points per game during his fourth season in 1987-88. In 1989, he won Defensive Player of the Year for averaging 8 steals and 2 blocks per game as well as leading the Bulls to their first division title in 16 years.
Jordan continued his dominance into the 1990s, winning MVP awards from 1991 to 1993 and leading the Bulls to three consecutive championships from 1991 to 1993. It was a remarkable achievement that has only been repeated by one other player since then – LeBron James.
By leading the Bulls to repeated championships and becoming one of basketball’s most beloved figures, Michael Jordan had cemented himself as an immortal part of basketball history by 1992 – but there was still more greatness yet to come….
The First Three-Peat: Jordan’s Rising Superstardom in the Early 90s
With superstardom on the rise, Michael Jordan and his Bulls team entered the early 90s looking to establish themselves as a dominant force. And boy did they deliver.
The Bulls’ first three-peat spanned from 1991 to 1993 and saw MJ take his game to a whole new level, averaging 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 2.78 steals per game over that span – a level of production that was unmatched in the NBA until it was eclipsed by Stephen Curry several decades later.
Moreover, Jordan led the Bulls to victory after victory with some of the most iconic plays of all time – late-game buzzer beaters against Craig Ehlo and Bryon Russell; dazzling on-the-move dunks against Patrick Ewing; miraculous comebacks from seemingly impossible deficits against Reggie Miller’s Pacers; relentless domination over John Stockton’s Jazz in the Finals for three straight years – all culminating with Jordan hitting an epic six 3-pointers in Game 1 of the 1993 NBA Finals before making “The Shot” for the series clinching win in Game 6.
Indeed, it was during this period that Michael Jordan cemented his legacy as one of history’s most revered athletes, leading many to refer to him affectionately as “His Airness.”
Retirement and Return to the NBA: The Second Three-Peat
The 1998-99 season was Jordan’s last with the Bulls, and it was marked by yet another championship. It was the sixth title of Jordan’s career, cementing his legacy as one of the most successful players in NBA history. However, after this season, Jordan retired yet again, only to make a brief return with the Washington Wizards in 2001.
Jordan’s return to the league was met with much excitement and anticipation – fans had waited three years to see their hero back on the court. Surprisingly, His Airness showed no signs of rust during his time with the Wizards and gave them two solid seasons of solid play before retiring again in 2003.
While he wasn’t able to lead Washington to a championship, Jordan helped them reach the playoffs both years he was there. He also set several records during this second stint in the league – including most points scored by a 40 year old – proving that he still had plenty left in the tank even at an advanced age.
Jordan’s return to basketball may not have yielded much success for him or his team but it proved once and for all that His Airness still had what it took to compete at an elite level – something that no other player has been able to replicate in modern NBA history.
Post-Retirement and Legacy: Global Icon and Considered the GOAT
For many, Michael Jordan’s true legacy lies in post-retirement years. His philanthropic work, endorsement deals and business endeavors made him a global icon and firmly established him as the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).
Since his retirement from basketball, Michael Jordan has devoted much of his time and money to numerous charities. Some of these include the James R. Jordan Foundation, which helps at-risk youth through educational, recreational, and cultural programs; the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.; and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. By involving himself in charitable work, Michael has established a reputation as more than just an incredible basketball player but also a generous humanitarian.
During his illustrious career, Michael Jordan was already a marketing phenomenon with thirteen major endorsements deals under his belt when he retired from the NBA. This allowed him to launch his own brand with Nike – Air Jordan – which included iconic sneaker lines such as the Air Jordan 1s and Air Jordans 4s—enjoying immense success in terms of sales. To this day, Michael remains one of Nike’s most important endorsers and continues to be an integral part of their brand recognition strategy by representing the new generations of Nike athletes on TV commercials —in spite of being 57 years old!
Michael was also a wise investor that realized early on that life after retirement should not be taken lightly. He has been involved in several businesses over time — from owning his own basketball team, Charlotte Hornets (formerly Bobcats), to starting a restaurant chain, to having equity stakes in other companies or setting up investments funds for private creditors –
For nearly three decades, Michael Jordan has been one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game of basketball. He has won multiple championships and MVP awards, been named to the All-Star team numerous times, and has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He is also remembered for his iconic shoe line, the Air Jordan, which remains one of the most popular sports brands in the world.
The legacy of Michael Jordan is one that will live on forever. He was an inspiration to millions and his career is one of the most impressive of all time. His hard work, dedication, and determination have left a lasting impression on the game of basketball, and he still continues to inspire a whole new generation of players. Michael Jordan will always be remembered as one of the greatest athletes of all time.