In addition to being an entrepreneur and owner of Michael Jordan Steakhouse, Jordan Brand, and the Charlotte Bobcats Basketball team, he also played a leading role in Space Jam and Nike Air endorsements in addition to his philanthropic works and donations through the Make A Wish Foundation, Michael Jordan Foundation, Boys & Girls Club, and various other charities he supports. He is also the main driver for globalizing the sport of basketball today.
Michael Jordan is Born
Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born in Brooklyn on the 17th of February 1963 to James and Deloris Jordan. The fourth of five children, Michael has two older brothers, Larry Jordan and James R. Jordan, Jr. as well as an older sister, Deloris and a younger sister named Roslyn.
Michael’s dad served in the US Army as a Command Sergeant Major and his mother worked in the banking industry. While Michael was still a toddler, the family moved to North Carolina and lived in the town of Wilmington.
Michael attended Emsley A. Laney High School where he grew to love the sports of baseball, football, and basketball. While attending the school, he tried out for the varsity basketball team; however, during his sophomore year he was overlooked for being not tall enough to play at varsity level, being 180cm in height.
Michael determined to make the next year’s team, joined The Langley High junior varsity squad where he started with over 40 points a game. Over the summer break, Michael shot up another 10 cm while putting all his strength into gym work and basketball training and was given the opportunity and a spot in the varsity team roster.
During Michael’s senior years at high school, he averaged 20 points a game for two seasons. Due to the success and abilities he was showing on the basketball court, Michael was selected to play on the McDonalds’ All American team. There, he scored 29.2 triple/double points, 11.6 rebound points and 10.1 assisted points.
Earning a Scholarship and UNC Statistics
Michael’s abilities around the court earned him a basketball scholarship to attend the University of North Carolina where he majored in cultural geography. Michael was named Freshman of the Year as he averaged 13.4 points with a 53.4% shooting points accuracy.
In 1982, Michael, while playing for the UNC Tar Heels against Georgetown University, made the game winning jump shot at the NCAA Championships. That, according to Michael was the major turning point in his career, giving him both the courage to believe in himself and work on becoming a top basketball player. Over the course of his three seasons with UNC, Michael’s game points average was 17.7 per game with a 54% shooting statistical average.
In 1983 and 1984, Michael was selected again to play for the NCAA All American First Team, culminating in him being awarded the USBWA College Player of the Year in 1984 as well as the Naismith College Player of the Year, the John R. Wooden Award, the Adolph award, ACC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year award, as well as the Rupp Trophy.
A Picture Lands in “A Star is Born” Feature of Sports Illustrated
Encouraged with his success, Michael decided to defer his university (he returned to UNC to complete his degree in 1986) and try out for the NBA national draft. Michael was selected by The Chicago Bulls, and in recognition of his talent and skill, was the third highest overall draft choice.
In 1984, Michael was selected to play for the USA Men’s Basketball Olympic team which went on to win the gold in the LA Summer Olympic Games, averaging 17.1 points per game over the contest.
Straight out from the court in 1984 with the Chicago Bulls, Michael quickly emerged to become both a great investment for the team owners and a rookie star player with his leaping slam dunks in addition to his high points scoring in each game. He ended his first season with an average of 28.2 points scored per game and a 51.5% shooting average.
Within a month of Michael’s first professional year in the NBA, he appeared on the front cover of Sports Illustrated Magazine entitled “A Star is Born,” and by the end of his first season, he had been voted by the fans as an All Star starter and Rookie of the Year.
Setbacks and Legendary Scores
The attention Michael received, however, caused tension and upset some of the veteran players of the league. His teammates colluded in “freezing out” Michael by not passing him the ball. But Michael’s mental discipline and self-belief helped him and he remained unaffected. The Bulls in 1984 made it to the first round of the playoffs but then lost ending their season 38-44.
The professional basketball season of 1985 was a mixed year of fortune. Michael’s career was shortened by a broken foot resulting in Michael missing a total of 64 games. However, the Chicago Bulls made it to the playoffs and Michael recovered enough to be back on the court and play with his team.
In 1986, while playing against the Boston Celtics (considered one of the greatest teams in NBA history), Michael set a new playoff game record of points that still remains unbroken today—he scored a massive 63 points. Even with this record points scored, the Celtics went on to win the season.
Michael Jordan’s professional and public star began to rise in the season of 1987 to 1988, when players and spectators witnessed one of the most prolific points ever scored in basketball history by a single player.
By the end of the season, Michael had scored over a whopping 3000 points, with an average of 37.1 points per game and a 48.2% shooting average. The only player to have ever achieved that feat was Wilt Chamberlain. Michael went on to win the Most Valuable Player of the Year Award as well as the Defensive Player of the Year, and was the NBA Slam Dunk Contest champion. For the third year in a row, the Chicago Bulls made it to the playoffs with 40 wins; however, the Boston Celtics again were to be the NBA Championship team that year.
In NBA Season of 1988 and 1989, Michael continued his high scoring game with an average of 32.5 points per game being scored. The Chicago Bulls as a team advanced to the finals in the Eastern Conference.
The same results would unfold for the Chicago Bulls in their 1989 to 1990 seasons, advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals but going down to the Pistons for the third season in a row. By the end of the season, Michael’s point scoring average was 33.6 per game with a 52.6 shooting average. Also in September of 1989, Michael married Juanita Vanoy. The couple later had two sons and a girl—Jeffrey, Marcus, and Jasmine.
In the 1990 to 1991 seasons, Michael and the Chicago Bulls won their first NBA Championship with a record of 61 wins in the regular season. Michael also went on to receive (for the second time) the Most Valuable Player Award and then the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award with an average of 31.2 points scored per game and an average 56% shooting record.
Shoe Jacking News Tell How Famous Michael has become
Later in 1991, Michael was acknowledged by Sports Illustrated as the Sportsman of the Year. Along with success came mega sporting marketing contracts with Gatorade and Nike. Nike even created a shoe in his name called Air Jordan. The popularity for the shoes was so great that the media even reported cases of “shoe jackings,” where muggers would steal wearer’s shoes at gunpoint. Using his massive earnings, he purchased a block of land in the Illinois Highland Park, where—over the next four years—he would build a 56,000 square–foot mansion for him and his family.
Michael and the Chicago Bulls continued their success on the basketball court in their 1991 to 1992 season with another record breaking 67-15 (wins vs. losses). Michael was awarded again the Most Valuable Player of the year with his stats of 30.1 points per game and a 52% shooting average. The Chicago Bulls went on to win the second NBA Championship.
In 1992, Michael again was selected for the USA Olympic Basketball Team, dubbed the “Dream Team” as it included other legends of the sport, such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and David Robinson. They travelled to Barcelona going on to win another Olympic Gold Medal, becoming only one of the three players to ever win both Olympic gold medals as amateur players and professionals.
The 1992 to 1993 finals season saw witness to Michael averaging 41 points per game, cementing his place in basketball legendary status to become the only player to ever win three back–to–back Most Valuable Player Awards. This was also to be the Chicago Bulls third year in a row to win the NBA National Championships dubbed as the “three peat.”
News about His Gambling Leaks
The year 1993 was not a good year for Michael. Exhaustion from his seven years as a professional basketball player, his meteoric success, media attention, and tension among players in the court all added to Michael’s decision to consider retiring from the sport. His decision was further cemented when a media frenzy aired stories of Michael’s gambling. One such story was Michael’s loss of 1.25 million dollars to Richard Esquinas while playing a round of golf.
However, what gave Michael enough reason to retire was the sickening news of his father’s murder on July 23rd 1993 as a result of robbery. The perpetrators stole his father’s car and two NBA Championship rings Michael had gifted his father. The death of his father—the man who ignited his passion and love for basketball—was exacerbated by invasion of his private mourning.
On the 6th of October 1993, Michael announced his retirement from the game of basketball. The breaking news sent overwhelming response across the globe. Later in that year, at the NFL Super bowl, Michael was featured in Nike Television ads with the fictional character Bugs Bunny, playing against the Martians. This ad proved to be so appealing to the audience that it went on to open other doors for Michael to act in a leading role in the Looney Tunes movie, “Space Jam,” in 1996.
In March of 1994, Michael again gained world headline attention when he announced his signing to a minor baseball league, The Chicago White Sox. Asked by the media why the sudden change of sporting careers, Michael went on to say that it was a dream of his late father whose earlier hope was for Michael to one day become a professional baseball player. To show support, the Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf (who also owned The Chicago White Sox) continued to honor Michael’s basketball contract while he played baseball.
That season, the Chicago Bulls made it to the NBA National Playoffs; however, without Michael the reporters and commentators would say it was nothing compared to its three peat time.
Playing for the Bulls Once More
Letting his game talk for him, Michael announced in a two–word press statement: “I’m back,” in March of 1995. His famous number 23 singlet (retired in his honor) was swapped for the new number 45. Michael’s return immediately boost his team’s confidence and helped them make it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, however, this is where the season ended for the team. Later, Michael would return to the basketball court, wearing his signature number 23, after Magic Johnson dogged Michael publicly of not being the same Michael Jordan he once played against.
In 1995, Michael was also interviewed by the American 60 Minutes where he talked about his life, philosophy and opened up about getting into situations where he simply couldn’t walk away from, such as his compulsive gambling, media attention, sponsorship success, and his retirement decision back in late 1993.
Michael’s training was both focused and intensive throughout the off season and recalled waking up each morning before sun rise, having breakfast then driving straight to the gym. While driving, he would have conversations with his father to strengthen his mental game. His hard work and mental strength would show up in his 1995 to 1996 season.
With vengeance, Michael returned, and the Chicago Bulls again with their dominating form, started their season with a 41- 3 (win vs. loss game statistic). By the end of the season, The Chicago Bulls has won another NBA National Championship (on Father’s Day).
Michael, for the fourth time, received the Finals Best Player Award as well as the Most Valuable Player for the Regular season. This was a very emotional time for Michael as this was to be the first championship he won after the death of his father.
Founder of the Area Boys & Girls Club
Later in 1996, Michael founded the Chicago Area Boys & Girls Club, which he dedicated to the city of Chicago in the name of his father. Michael was also honored with Sports Illustrated as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History. He also acted in the Hollywood blockbuster, “Space Jam.”
The 1996 to 1997 basketball season proved to be a challenging but a successful year for Michael and the Chicago Bulls. Advancing to the finals and playing against Utah Jazz, the series went down to the wire—the Bulls going on to win the sixth game in the series of six and then the NBA National Championship. The achievement elevated Michael to superstar status as he became the first ever player to triple double in All Star Game history and receiving the Finals Most Valuable Player Award.
Getting into Business
In 1997, Michael Jordan also franchised his name by entering the restaurant business with his Michael Jordan Steakhouse in Grand Central Terminal, New York City, Connecticut, and Chicago. The restaurants were designed by David Rockwell. The Michael Jordan Steakhouse has no sports memorabilia as its focus is on Michael Jordan, the businessman.
The 1997 to 1998 season was to be another record–breaking year for the dominative Chicago Bulls and for the third year in a row, they won the Eastern Conference Championship. Michael would win his fifth Most Valuable Player Award and would be chosen for the All–NBA First Team, First Defensive Team, and the All–Star Game Most Valuable Player. The Chicago Bulls went on to win their third back–to–back NBA National Title and attained their second “three peat” since 1991. Michael again was Finals Most Valuable Player and the game held the record for the highest ever viewers in the history of the NBA telecasts.
For the Love of the Game was Released
Later in 1998, Michael published his autobiography, “For the Love of the Game,” in which he talked about his rise to fame in the sport of basketball and his thoughts of retirement in 1992, post the Olympics. While his Nike and other commercial sponsorships were reported to earn him over forty million dollars a year, his salary was estimated to be around thirty million.
Year 1998 and 1999 was a season of regret in the NBA’s history, brought on by free agents, owners, and players all causing a halt to the season and ultimately resulting in an owner lockout of players.
In January 1999, Michael for the second time in his career announced his retirement at the age of 35 years old. He was named by ESPN the Greatest American Athlete of the 20th Century. He also ranked second to Babe Ruth by the Associated Press on their list of 20th Century athletes.
Michael Quotes about Failure
In 2000, we see the return of Michael to the NBA as President and part–owner of the Washington Wizards. Michael gave himself to his new role, controlling every aspect of the team’s running and operation. It was a new challenge for Michael, but as he would say, “Failure is simply another side of success... but if you don’t give it your best failure is guaranteed.”
Playing for the Washington Wizards
The itch to play professional basketball was too much for Michael in 2001. With his competitive nature and inspired by his NHL friend Mario Lemieux’s comeback to professional ice hockey, Michael once again was back in the gym and training. So to keep his focus, he hired Doug Collins (head coach of the Chicago Bulls) to coach his Washington Wizards team.
In 2001, Michael expressed his interest in returning to NBA and played in the Washington Wizards Team on the 25th September 2001. He declared that his players’ salary would be donated to help victims of the New York September 11 terrorist attacks. His 2001 to 2002 season unfortunately was plagued with injuries and with a torn knee cartilage.
Going through a Painful Divorce
Sadly, in 2002, more pain was inflicted when Michael and his wife Juanita filed for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. They were able to patch things up only to again file for divorce in 2006 and their marriage was dissolved, making a public statement that “the decision was mutual and amicable.”
The year 2003 was to be Michael’s last year and season as a professional basketball player. His professional calendar and the season filled stadiums with tribute matches. In his final game on his old home court in Chicago, he received a four–minute standing ovation from the crowd. Playing his 14th NBA finals season, he averaged 20 points per game, had a 45% shooting success rate from the field of play, and 82% shooting success rate from the free throw line. Michael, in spite of turning forty mid–season, was the first over–forty–year–old to rack up 43 points in a single game.
Retirement and More Endorsements and Investments
Upon retirement, Michael was ready to resume his position as part owner and head coach of the Washington Wizards; however, amidst his controversial trades in May 2003, Abe Pollin fired Michael as the President of Basketball Operations. This hurt Michael deeply and would later state that he felt betrayed and if he knew he was going to be fired after retiring, he would have never returned in 2001 as he did to play for the Washington Wizards.
Post retirement from his career as a professional basketball player, Michael continued his tenacious competitiveness by putting his mind and effort into building his sports clothing brand company now called Jordan Brand. His retirement also afforded him more time with his family, supporting his son in his high school basketball, playing celebrity and charity golf tournaments, and doing commercial endorsements, such as those with AT&T.
In 2004, following his passion for motorcycles, Michael created his Michael Jordan Motorsports company, which funds a team of Superbikes with the AMA (American Motorcycle Association) riding two Suzukis.
Together, Michael and Juanita in 2006 pledged to give five million dollars to the Hales Franciscan High School in Chicago on top of giving substantial donations to the Habitat for Humanity and the Louisiana Boys & Girls Club of America. Michael was also kept busy with him investing a minority share in the Charlotte Bobcats and becoming the team’s second largest shareholder.
In 2009, Michael was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in Springfield Massachusetts, where visitors can view his plating memorabilia as far back as his college years, to his professional basketball career.
In 2010, we saw Michael up his shareholding in the Charlotte Bobcats to become the major shareholder of the team. By February 27th 2010, a public announcement was made that pending NBA approval, MJ Basketball Holdings would be the new owners. This was approved on the 17th of March. The event created history as Michael was to become the first ever NBA player to become an owner of an NBA Franchise.
By June 2010, Michael Jordan was ranked as one of the top 20 most powerful celebrities in the world, by Forbes magazine, along with his Jordan Brand sales generating over a billion dollars a year for Nike.
Charlotte Bobcats Team and Second Marriage
Today, Michael is putting his efforts and attention into his Charlottes Bobcats Team, and while they struggle in the NBA completion, he is determined as ever with his tenacity and competitive spirit to get back to basics and build the team back up on solid foundations.
Michael is in for the long haul recently saying to reporters when they questioned the results and performance of the team’s recent season results 7-59—record the worst winning percentage in NBA history:
"I don't anticipate getting out of this business. My competitive nature is I want to succeed. It's always been said that when I can't find a way to do anything, I will find a way to do it.”
Michael recently tied the knot with his girlfriend of five years, Yvette Prieto, in Florida.
No one can doubt that when the extraordinary Michael Jordan puts his mind and effort to do something he sets himself to accomplish, he will not stop until he has achieved his objective. This is the true sign of a champion.
- NBA Hall of Fame Inductee 2009
- Olympic Gold Medal Basketball (1984 LA Summer Olympics, 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics)
- NCAA National Championship Team 1981
- ACC Freshman of the Year 1981
- NCAA All American First Team 1982, 1983.
- ACC Men’s Basketball Player of the Year 1984
- USBWA College Player of the Year 1984
- Naismith College Player of the Year 1984
- John Wooden Award 1984
- Adolph Rupp Trophy 1984
- NBA Rookie of the Year 1984
- NBA Slam Dunk Competition Winner. Two Times (1987 & 1988)
- NBA Championship Team Member (Chicago Bulls). Six times (1991, 1992,1993,1996,1997,1998)
- NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award. Six times (1991,1992,1993,1996,1997,1998)
- NBA Most Valuable Player Award. Five times (1998,1991,1992,1996,1998)
- NBA Top Score Season Award. Ten times (1987,88,89,90,91,92,93,96,97,98)
- NBA All Stars Game Most Valuable Player. Three times (1988,1996,1998)
- NBA All Stars Selection. Fourteen Times.(1985,86,87,88,89,90,91,92,93,96,97,98,2002,02,03)
- NBA All Star Selection. Eleven times
- NBA All Stars Defensive Team Selection. Nine times
- NBA Defensive Player of the Year
- Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated 1991
- NBA Named 50 Greatest Players in NBA History 1996
- SLAM Magazine's Top 50 Players of All-Time Ranked 1st
- ESPN Sportscentury's Top 100 Athletes of the 20th century Ranked 1st
- North Carolina Hall of Fame Inductee