DOB: 17 February 1963
Place of birth: Brooklyn, New York (USA)
Position: Shooting Guard
The athlete commonly referred to as ‘arguably the greatest basketball player ever’ has achieved just about everything there was for him to do in the game – at the college level, in the professional ranks and internationally.
The only thing missing from Michael Jordan’s never-ending list of accomplishments is the fact that he never played in (and therefore never won) a FIBA World Championship.
That aside, he has done it all – several times over.
From a team standpoint, Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA Championships in eight years (1991-1993 and 1996-1998), won two Olympic gold medals (1984 and 1992) and, as a freshman, hit the game-winning shot to clinch North Carolina’s second NCAA Championship (1982).
In terms of individual accolades, he has won far too many to even begin listing them all. The ones that stand out the most include being named the NBA’s regular season MVP five times and Finals MVP six times and leading the league in scoring 10 times.
He was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history in 1997. His career scoring average of 30.12 points per game is the highest by any player and is unlikely to ever be matched or bettered.
His level of fame worldwide sky-rocketed when he lined up alongside Magic Johnson, Larry Bird to headline the Dream Team that won gold in spectacular fashion at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Jordan had won his first Olympic gold eight years earlier, at the Los Angeles Games.
Jordan, though, had humble beginnings in the game. As a sophomore in high school, he failed to make his varsity team. He used that disappointment as a motivation and driving force to be the best at everything he did. He would lead the varsity team in his junior and senior years and then stay close to home by playing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
He described the winning shot against Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA championship game as the turning point in his career.
Selected by the Chicago Bulls with the third pick in the 1984 NBA draft, Jordan was a fan favourite right from the start and would become one of the most recognisable faces in America – and soon the world – thanks to endorsement deals and TV commercials with brands such as Nike, Coca Cola, McDonalds, Wheaties and Hanes.
He was one of the NBA’s leading stars, scoring at will and featuring routinely on NBA highlight reels. However, his individual success didn’t immediately result into that of the team. It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the Bulls became a serious contender.
But after they won their first championship in 1991, Jordan made sure it became a habit. Chicago won three titles in a row before their star player retired following the death of his father. He tried his hand at baseball before returning to basketball late in the 1994-1995 season.
The Bulls would regain their championship form, winning three more from 1996 to 1998. Jordan retired for a second time after the last title.
In 2001, Jordan came out of retirement once again, this time wearing the colours of the Washington Wizards, who he had served as part owner and President of Basketball Operations. He played two seasons but was unable to get the team to the playoffs.
In 2006, he bought a minority stake in the Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA franchise in his home state of North Carolina.
In March of this year, he acquired the franchise from Robert L Johnson and became the second African-American to own a controlling interest of a major sports team after Johnson himself.