Michael Jordan Biography

Born: February 17, 1963
Brooklyn, New York

African American basketball player

Basketball superstar Michael Jordan is one of the most successful, popular, and wealthy athletes in college, Olympic, and professional sports history.

Early life

Michael Jordan was born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York, one of James and Deloris Jordan's five children. The family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, when Michael was very young. His father worked as a General Electric plant supervisor, and his mother worked at a bank. His father taught him to work hard and not to be tempted by street life. His mother taught him to sew, clean, and do laundry. Jordan loved sports but failed to make his high school basketball team as a sophomore. He continued to practice and made the team the next year. After high school he accepted a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he played under head coach Dean Smith.

In Jordan's first season at North Carolina he was named Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year for 1982. The team won the ACC championship, and Jordan made the clutch jump shot that beat Georgetown University for the championship of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Jordan led the ACC in scoring as a sophomore and as a junior. The Sporting News named him college player of the year for both years. He left North Carolina after his junior year and was selected by the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) as the third pick of the 1984 draft. Before joining the Bulls, Jordan was a member of the Summer 1984 United States Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal in Los Angeles, California.

Early pro years

When Jordan was drafted by the Chicago Bulls they were a losing team, drawing only around six thousand fans to home games. Jordan quickly turned that around. His style of play and fierce spirit of competition reminded sportswriters and fans of Julius Erving (1950–), who had been a superstar player during the 1970s. Jordan's incredible leaping ability and hang time thrilled fans in arenas around the league. In his first season he was named to the All-Star team and was later honored as the league's Rookie of the Year.

A broken foot sidelined Jordan for 64 games during the 1985–86 season, but he

Michael Jordan. Reproduced by permission of Getty Images.
Michael Jordan.
Reproduced by permission of
Getty Images
returned to score 49 points against the Boston Celtics in the first game of the playoffs and 63 in the second game—an NBA playoff record. The 1986–87 season was again one of individual successes, and Jordan started in the All-Star game after receiving a record 1.5 million votes. He became the first player since Wilt Chamberlain (1936–1999) to score 3,000 points in a single season. Jordan enjoyed personal success, but Chicago did not advance beyond the first round of the playoffs until 1988. Jordan concentrated on improving his other basketball skills, and in 1988 he was named Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP) and became the first player to lead the league in both scoring and steals. He was again named MVP in that year's All-Star game.

By adding such players as Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant, and John Paxson around Jordan, the Bulls' management created a strong team that won the 1991 NBA title by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. The next year, the Bulls repeated as NBA champions by beating the Portland Trail Blazers. In 1992 Jordan also played on the "Dream Team," which participated in the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. The Olympic Committee had voted to lift the ban on professional athletes participating in the games. The team easily won the gold medal, winning their eight games by an average margin of 43.7 points.

Unexpected retirement

In 1993, after a tough playoff series with the New York Knicks, the Bulls met the Phoenix Suns for the NBA championship. When it was over, Jordan was again playoff MVP, and Chicago had won a third straight title. That summer Jordan's father, James, was murdered by two men during a robbery attempt. Jordan was grief stricken, and his father's death, combined with media reports about his gambling, led him to announce his retirement from professional basketball in October. Jordan had won three straight NBA titles, three regular season MVP awards, three playoff MVP titles, seven consecutive scoring titles, and he was a member of the All-Star team every year that he was in the league. In just nine seasons he had become the Bulls all-time leading scorer.

In 1994–95 Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons, a minor league baseball team in the Chicago White Sox system. Although the seventeen-month experiment showed that he was not a major league baseball player, the experience and time away from basketball provided a much-needed rest and opportunity to regain his love of basketball.

Return to glory

When Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls during the 1994–95 regular season, people wondered, "Could he do it again?" He played well, but he was obviously rusty. The Bulls were defeated in the playoffs by the Orlando Magic. After a summer of playing basketball during breaks from filming the live-action cartoon movie Space Jam, Jordan returned with a fierce determination to prove that he had the ability to get back on top. The 1995–96 Bulls finished the regular season 72–10, an NBA record for most wins in a season, and Jordan, with his shooting rhythm back, earned his eighth scoring title. He also became the tenth NBA player to score 25,000 career points and second fastest after Chamberlain to reach that mark. The Bulls went on to win their fourth NBA championship, overpowering the Seattle Supersonics in six games. Few who watched will ever forget how Jordan sank to his knees, head bent over the winning ball, in a moment of bittersweet victory and deep sadness. The game had been played on Father's Day, three years after his father's murder.

The defending champions had a tougher time during the 1996–97 season but entered the playoffs as expected. Sheer determination took the Bulls to their fifth NBA championship. Illness, injury, and at times a lack of concentration hurt the team. In the fifth game of the finals Jordan carried the team to victory despite suffering from a stomach virus. In the 1997–98 season the Bulls were again in the playoffs, and again they faced tough competition. As before, they were able to clinch the NBA championship, and Jordan claimed his sixth NBA finals MVP award.

Jordan's other professional life as a businessman was never off track. Profitable endorsements (ads in which he voiced his support for certain products) for companies such as Nike and Wheaties, as well as his own golf company and products such as Michael Jordan cologne (which reportedly sold 1.5 million bottles in its first two months), made Jordan a multimillionaire. In 1997 he was ranked the world's highest paid athlete, with a $30 million contract—the largest one-year salary in sports history—and approximately $40 million a year in endorsement fees.

Retired again

Jordan retired for a second time in 1999, ending his career on a high note just after the official end of a labor dispute between NBA players and team owners. Many people saw him as the greatest basketball player ever, and his retirement was called the end of an era. In 2000 Jordan became part-owner and president of basketball operations of the Washington Wizards. This made him only the third African American owner in the NBA. He also gained an ownership stake in the Washington Capitals hockey team. Also in 2000, Jordan celebrated the first year of his $1 million grant program to help teachers make a difference in their schools.

In September 2001, after months of rumors, Jordan announced that he was ending his three-year retirement to play for the Wizards at age thirty-eight. At a news conference to discuss his comeback, he said, "Physically, I know I'm not twenty-five years old, but I feel I can play the game of basketball on the highest level." The Wizards, who had won only nineteen games the season before, improved with the addition of Jordan. After being voted to play in his thirteenth All-Star game (during which he missed a slam dunk), Jordan had the Wizards in the race for the playoffs until suffering a knee injury and missing the last part of the season. He was also distracted in January 2002 when his wife Juanita, whom he married in 1989, filed for divorce. (They have three children.) The next month the divorce was called off. Jordan said he planned to play one more season for the Wizards.

For More Information

Greene, Bob. Hang Time. New York: Doubleday, 1992.

Gutman, Bill. Michael Jordan: A Biography. New York: Pocket Books, 1991.

Halberstam, David. Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made. New York: Random House, 1999.

Jordan, Michael. For the Love of the Game: My Story. New York: Crown Publishers, 1998.

Naughton, Jim. Taking to the Air: The Rise of Michael Jordan. New York: Warner Books, 1992.

Smith, Sam. The Jordan Rules. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992.

User Contributions:

His father was shot then thrown into a swamp.
He had a tattoo over his heart which was a greek letter standing for 'omega'.
Also he wore his N. Carolina shorts under his bull uniform for good luck.
Las Vegas
So he didnt make his high school team for what?
bad grades?
or he just wasnt good enough?
Michael Jordan was definitely good enough to make his high school team

the coach and school just didn't want to see a black man succeed
What happened after he played one more season with the Wizards
I am very glad for Michael Jordan on a very succesful life and adventure.
I would like to know more about micheal jordan father murder..
Micheal Jordan is the beat player in the world,Micheal your the best player
little g
I am doing a research on Michael Jordan and i find his life very interesting so that's why i chose to do my bibliography on him.
I did a research on Micheal Jordan and I enjoyed reading his life.
Michael was just an awesome basketball player and he still is the best. so just leave it at that just kidding but yeah Michael Jordan left college after his junior year to join the NBA. Drafted by the Chicago Bulls, he soon proved himself on the court. He helped the team make it to the playoffs and scored an average of 28.2 points per game that season. For his efforts, Jordan received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and was selected for the All-Star Game. Jordan even broke the record of scoring 63 points and with an average of 3,000 points in one season.
the greatest player in the world!! he always will be and forever be AWESOME!!!
He is the best basketball player ever and I like his shoes
Michael Jordan you are the greatest all-time winning nba player.I like to be a basketball player like you and you are my idol i like to call you AIR JORDAn.You and Scottie Pippen are the greatest player in nba history.I'm filipino and my father is great basketball player his playing a interbaryo.You are still greatest all-time winning nba player for me.GOODBYE
"JORDAN",is the king of the basketball ball history.Despite of being humiliated,distracted,stress,illness and shocking news of his fathers death he fought to be called "king".Almighty air hisness(M J 23) .people are meant to be like him .Never giving up for the destination ,winners do the things differently.JORDAN u r my inspiration
Why do you( Michael Jordan ) have to wear that Hitler stash? Are you a Nazi?
micheal jordan inspired mae by overcome many obsticals when he treid agian for the basketball team when he didnt make it the first time im just a little kid only 6 yaers old
When I truned ten years old my dad took me to the Chicago Bulls basketball game and when I was there watching the game I saw michael jordan making these amazing slam dunks at the game.
After the game was over I told my dad that I want to be just like michael jordan.
When I truned eleven my dad got me a basketball hoop and a basketball for my birthday.
He told me to folow my dream as of becoming a basketball player.
So from starting from 11 to 17 years old I been playing basketball for almost all my life now and you know what, even tho im 4,8 and 17 years old I can still folow my dream as becoming a basketball player.
As a young adult i played all kinds of sports just for fun. Watching Micheal Jordan play on tv was amazing!! I'm his #1 fan. From shoes to trading cards,jersey too. A man of greatness is what i call him when it comes to sports.Now i'm a little older and things change in my life (health).. My wish and dream is to meet Micheal Jordan. I always wanted to play him one on one! Just to say i played with the best. Now my dieabetes has crippled my feet and legs;but that do not change any for me. I still want to meet him . Can anyone bless me with that opportunity? I just want to meet my #1 player..
MICHEAL JORDAN went to UNC the best college ever. He was a beast. He is the best basketball player ever and I wish I could get his signature. Can I get your signature Micheal Jordan plz. I'm a big fan.
Alessa Linn
Michael Jordan is the best player in the world!!😊
Tonika Wyckoff
I remember watching the slam dunk contest and how Michael Jordan flew in the air was amazing. He is a remarkable player . I love to see him play.
Micheaal jordan is the best basketball player in there
I think Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in the history of basketball I play basketball myself and he inspired me to play basket ball.
Caydhen black
Micheal Jordan is a hero,he will always be the GOAT
I would love to know a little more about his father and what made him want to be a basketball player and how did he make his dream come true.
Jordan Lyon
Michael Jordan is and forever will be my hero. I was named after him and i play basketball because I am inspired by him and when I grow up I hope to be like him too. He is a great man and a great role model so I will look up to him for years to come
Jun 15, 2024 @ 8:08 am
The G O A T! Lucky to see him play little bb too. He was not as bad as was written about him.

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