Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan Biography

(1963–)
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Michael Jordan is a former American basketball player who led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and won the Most Valuable Player Award five times.

Who Is Michael Jordan?

Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a professional American basketball player, Olympic athlete, businessperson and actor. Considered one of the best basketball players ever, he dominated the sport from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. 

Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six National Basketball Association championships and earned the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award five times. With five regular-season MVPs and three All-Star MVPs, Jordan became the most decorated player in the NBA.

Early Life

Jordan grew up with a stable family life. His mother, Delores, was a bank teller who has since written several books. His father, James, was a maintenance worker turned manager at General Electric. Jordan had four siblings: Larry, Deloris, Roslyn and James Jr.

Jordan's father, James, introduced Michael to baseball and built a basketball court in their backyard. He was murdered in the summer of 1993 when two teenagers shot him in his car in an apparent robbery as he was driving from Charlotte to Wilmington, North Carolina. He went missing for 11 days until his body was found in a swamp in McColl, South Carolina. The teens were later tried and convicted of the crime and received life sentences for first-degree murder.

Childhood

Jordan was born on February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York. 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."

Michael Jordan's College

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. UNC 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.

Jordan left college after his junior year to join the NBA in 1984. In 1985, Jordan finished his bachelor's degree in geography as he continued to play basketball professionally. 

Michael Jordan's Basketball Career

Chicago Bulls

Jordan began his professional basketball career when he was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984. He was the second draft pick behind Sam Bowie, who was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers; the draft also featured legendary players Hakeem Olajuwon, John Stockton and Charles Barkley.

Jordan 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.

While his second season was marred by injury, he 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.

By the late 1980s, the Chicago Bulls were 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.

In 1992, the Chicago Bulls beat the Portland Trail Blazers to win their second NBA championship. The team took their third championship the following year, dominating in the basketball world.

Following a short stint in minor league baseball, in March 1995 Jordan returned to the basketball court, rejoining the Chicago Bulls and eventually helping them win the championship against the Seattle Sonics in the 1995-96 season.

The following season Jordan came back even stronger, averaging 30.4 points per game. Starting all 82 games that season, he helped the team finish the regular season with 72 wins and clinch a win in the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz. The two teams faced each other again for the championships in 1998, and Jordan helped the Bulls beat them for the second year in a row.

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan takes a layup against the New York Knicks during the NBA game at Madison Square Garden on April 19, 1997, in New York City, New York. 

Washington Wizards

After his second retirement from baseball in 1998, Jordan joined the Washington Wizards in 1999 as a part owner and as president of basketball operations. 

In the fall of 2001, Jordan relinquished these roles to return to the court once more. He played for the Wizards for two seasons before retiring for good in 2003.

Olympics

During the summer of 1984, Jordan made his first appearance at the Olympic Games as a member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team. The team won the gold at the games that year, which were held in Los Angeles.

Jordan later helped the American team bring home the gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games, held in Barcelona, Spain.

Retirements from Basketball

Over the 19 years since beginning his professional basketball career, Jordan retired from the sport three times. He first retired in 1993 and again in 1998, then finally hung up his jersey for good in 2003.

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Michael Jordan Fact Card

Michael Jordan's Season of Baseball

In a move that shocked many, after the end of the 1992-93 basketball season, Jordan announced his retirement from basketball to pursue baseball. For one year, in 1994, Jordan played for a minor league team, the Birmingham Barons, as an outfielder. 

This decision came shortly following the murder of Jordan's father, who always wanted him to play baseball. He had last played baseball as a high school senior, in 1981.

"You tell me I can't do something, and I'm going to do it," Jordan said.

During his short career in baseball, which many fans considered a whim, Jordan had a rather dismal .202 batting average. However many of the people who worked with him at the time said he was an extremely dedicated player with potential.

"He had it all. Ability, aptitude, work ethic. He was always so respectful of what we were doing and considerate of his teammates. Granted, he had a lot to learn," said former Barons manager Terry Francona. "I do think with another 1,000 at-bats, he would've made it. But there's something else that people miss about that season. Baseball wasn't the only thing he picked up. I truly believe that he rediscovered himself, his joy for competition. We made him want to play basketball again."

After his season with the Barons, Jordan went to the Arizona Fall League to play for the Scottsdale Scorpions. After hitting .252 and naming himself the team's "worst player," he returned to the NBA in March 1995 with a two-word press release: "I'm back."

Businessman and Actor

Outside of his career in basketball, Jordan has been involved in a number of profitable business and commercial ventures. Between his profitable Nike partnership and his ownership of the Charlotte Hornets, Forbes estimated Jordan's net worth to be over $1 billion in 2018. 

Michael Jordan and Nike

Jordan signed his first deal with Nike in 1984, and he currently serves on the Nike Inc. board of directors.

Nike launched the signature Air Jordan basketball sneakers in 1985. In its initial contract, Nike gave Jordan a generous 25 percent in royalties.

The Air Jordan quickly proved very popular, and it continues to be a best-seller for the apparel maker more than 30 years later. The collaboration mints money for Nike and Jordan, with Nike reporting nearly $2.9 billion in revenue for the Air Jordan line in 2018. 

Other Endorsement Deals

Over the years, Jordan has signed a number of other endorsement deals with brands including Hanes, Upper Deck, Gatorade, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Chevrolet and Wheaties.

'Space Jam'

Jordan made a big splash in film as the star of the 1996 movie Space Jam. The film mixed live action and animation and paired Jordan with cartoon legends Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck on screen.

Michael Jordan in Space Jam

Michael Jordan in 'Space Jam'

Part-Owner of the Charlotte Hornets

In 2006, Jordan bought a share of the Charlotte Hornets (formerly known as the Bobcats) and joined the team's executive ranks as its managing member of basketball operations. In 2010, he became the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets and serves as the team's chairman. 

Improving the team's less-than-stellar record seemed to be Jordan's priority. He told ESPN in November 2012 that "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." While the Hornets on-court record isn't hugely successful, the value of the company has grown in value from a $175 million valuation in 2006 to $1.05 billion in 2018.

Michael Jordan Steakhouse

In 1998, Jordan launched into the restaurant business as the owner of Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. Designed to reflect Jordan’s tastes and style, this typical steakhouse seats 150 and 60 at the bar, occupying 7,000 square feet in Grand Central Terminal. Other locations include Uncasville, CT, Chicago and Ridgefield, WA.

Golf Charity

From 2001 through 2014, Jordan hosted an annual charitable golf event known as the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, with proceeds benefiting foundations including Make-A-Wish, Cats Care, the James R. Jordan Foundation, Keep Memory Alive and Opportunity Village. 

The four-day tournament and celebration attracted celebrity participants including Wayne Gretzky, Michael Phelps, Chevy Chase, Samuel L. Jackson and Mark Wahlberg.

Michael Jordan's Awards

Jordan received his first Most Valuable Player Award from the NBA in 1988—an honor he would earn four more times in 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1998.

In April 2009, Jordan received one of basketball's greatest honors: He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Attending the induction ceremony was a bittersweet affair for Jordan because being at the event meant "your basketball career is completely over," he explained.

In 2016, Jordan was presented with a Presidential Medal of Freedom honor by President Barack Obama.

Michael Jordan's Basketball Stats

Vertical Leap

48 inches

Career Averages

  • G: 1,072
  • GS: 1,039
  • MPG: 38.3
  • FG%: 0.497
  • 3P%: 0.327
  • FT%: 0.835

Rebounds per game:

  • OFF: 1.60
  • DEF: 4.70
  • RPG: 6.20
  • APG: 5.3
  • SPG: 2.35
  • BPG: 0.83
  • TO: 2.73
  • PF: 2.60
  • PPG: 30.1

Career Totals

  • MIN: 41,011
  • FGM-A: 12,192-24,537
  • 3PM-A: 581-1,778
  • FTM-A: 7,327-8,772

Rebounds:

  • OFF: 1,668
  • DEF: 5,004
  • TOT: 6,672
  • AST: 5,633
  • STL: 2,514
  • BLK: 893
  • TO: 2,924
  • PF: 2,783
  • PTS: 32,292

Michael Jordan's Wives and Kids

In 1989, Jordan married Juanita Vanoy. The couple had three children together: Jeffrey, Marcus and Jasmine. After 17 years of marriage, they divorced in December 2006.

On April 27, 2013, Jordan married 35-year-old Cuban-American model Yvette Prieto in Palm Beach, Florida. Tiger Woods, Spike Lee and Patrick Ewing, among other celebrities, reportedly attended the wedding ceremony. The couple welcomed twin daughters, Victoria and Ysabel, in February 2014.

Jordan and Juanita's two sons, Jeffrey and Marcus, both played basketball in college and had dreams of making it to the NBA.

Jeffrey joined the basketball team at the University of Illinois in 2007. Both Jordan and his ex-wife Juanita supported their son and tried to help him deal with playing in the shadow of an NBA legend.

"The thing that we have tried to tell Jeff is that you set your own expectations. By no means in this world can you ever live up to someone else's expectations of who you are," Jordan said during an appearance on the Today show.

Jeffrey played for the University of Illinois for three seasons, from 2007 to 2010. He then played for the University of Southern Florida for one season, from 2011 to 2012, before retiring from basketball. He later entered a management training program at Nike.

Jordan's younger son Marcus also played basketball for the UCF Knights, for three seasons from 2009 to 2012. He went on to open a basketball shoe and apparel store in Florida.

"They wanted to be like their dad. What boy doesn't? But they both got to a point where they said, 'We're not going to the NBA'," said Juanita in 2013.

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