The magician of basketball: Michael Jordan
Not just the followers of the game, even a layman would know that Michael Jordan is considered as the God of basketball. His sports legacy aside, the man is equally known for his qualities of hardwork and perseverance. As he celebrated his birthday this week, let’s have a look at some interesting facts about Jordan’s life and game.
- Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn in the American state of New York on February 17, 1963 but the family moved to North Carolina when he was just a toddler.
- Michael Jordan’s idol as a child was Magic Johnson and his own nickname was “Magic Jordan” as a result. He even had a license plate with this nickname on it on his first car — a 1976 Grand Prix.
- Jordan is not comfortable around water bodies. A tragic incident in his childhood led to a lifetime phobia of water. He witnessed a good friend get sucked into the ocean’s undertow and drown. Then when he was eleven, he himself almost drowned while at baseball camp.
- Unlike the legend, Jordan was actually not the first choice for his school basketball team. He was passed over for his friend but eventually after a lot of hard work got through the team in his senior year.
- In school, he played three sports: baseball, football and basketball. He majored in Geography.
- In 1981, he helped his team win the NCAA Division I championship in 1982 and scored the final basket needed to win against Georgetown University. Before Jordan’s enrollment, the North Carolina Tarheels’ last national championship had been in 1957.
- Jordan was named the NCAA College Player of the Year in both 1983 and in 1984.
- Jordan was selected as a member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team for the first time in the summer of 1984. The team won the gold at the Los Angeles games that year.
- One year short of graduation, Michael Jordan was chosen third overall in the NBA 1984 Draft. He joined the Chicago Bulls in 1984.
- Jordan scored an average of 28.2 points per game and helped the Bulls make it to the playoffs. He received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1985 and was also selected for the NBA All-Star Game.
- Jordan is credited with starting the baggy basketball shorts fad. He required bigger shorts because he wanted to continue wearing his University of North Carolina Tarheel shorts beneath his Chicago Bulls uniform during each game.
- His high leaps earned this talented player the nicknames “His Airness” and “Air Jordan”.
- Jordan won six NBA Championships, made 14 NBA All-Star appearances, and won five NBA most valuable player awards. He was Defensive Player of the Year in 1988.
- Jordan is the most decorated player in the NBA, past or present. He won all of his games in the NBA Finals in which he participated except one.
- Jordan went to the Olympics a second time as part of the “Dream Team” that included Magic Johnson, Scottie Pippin, and Larry Bird. They won the gold medal at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain.
- Jordan retired the first time from basketball after his 1997-98 season then joined the Washington Wizards as president of basketball operations and a part owner. He returned to the court in 2001 and played basketball two more seasons before finally retiring for good in 2003.
- He starred first in the 1996 feature film Space Jam in which he played himself. Jordan was a cartoon superhero in a short-lived series called “ProStars”.