MICHAEL JORDAN

Michael Jordan Biography.
Professional basketball player, Olympic athlete, businessperson, actor. Born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York. Considered one of the best basketball players ever, Michael Jordan dominated the sport from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. He led the Chicago Bulls to six national championships as well as earned the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Most Valuable Player Award five times.

Growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina, Jordan developed a competitive edge at an early age. He wanted to win every game he played. As his father James later noted, “What he does have is a competition problem. He was born with that…The person he tries to outdo most of the time is himself.”

Jordan enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981 and soon became an important member of the school’s basketball team. His team won the NCAA Division I championships in 1982 with Jordan scoring the final basket needed to defeat Georgetown University. He was also singled out as the NCAA College Player of the Year in 1983 and in 1984. During the summer of 1984, Jordan made his first appearance in the Olympics as a member of the U.S. basketball team, which won the gold at the games held in Los Angeles. Later Jordan helped the United States bring home the gold at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain.

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.

In 1985, he finished his bachelor’s degree in geography and continued to play basketball professionally. While his second season was marred by injury, Jordan was breaking new ground on the court during the 1986-1987 season. He became the first player since Wilt Chamberlin to score more than 3,000 points in a single season. The following season, Jordan received his first Most Valuable Player Award from NBA—an honor he would earn four more times in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998.

By the late 1980s, the Chicago Bulls was quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and Jordan was an instrumental part of the team’s success. The Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1990 and won their first NBA championship the following year by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. A rising NBA superstar, Jordan became known for his power and agility on the court as well as for his leadership abilities. He eventually landed several endorsement deals with such companies as Nike, which further pushed him into the spotlight.

In 1992, the Chicago Bulls beat the Portland Trail Blazers to win their second NBA championship title. The team took their third championship the following year, dominating in the basketball world. Jordan, however, had other things on his mind. He lost his father, James, to an act of violence after the end of the 1992-1993 season. Two teenagers shot James Jordan during an apparent robbery and were later convicted of the crime. In a move that shocked many, Michael Jordan decided to retire from basketball to pursue baseball. He played for a minor league team, the Birmingham Barons, as an outfielder for a year.

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