Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also identified by his initials MJ, is a retired American professional basketball player who is widely rated as one of the greatest sportsmen of the 20th century. Jordan began his professional basketball career in 1984 when he was drafted into Chicago Bulls, a club whose fortune he went on to change. Jordan immediately grabbed headlines due to his playing style and he won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award in 1984. After achieving several personal milestones in the 1980s, Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles in the 1990s. In all the Finals of these seasons, Jordan won the NBA Finals MVP (Most Valuable Player) Award. Jordan was also named the MVP of the NBA season five times in his career. Among other things, Jordan holds the record for the highest points per game (ppg) average in NBA history at 30.12; and the most number of scoring titles with 10 titles. Apart from NBA, Jordan was part of the national basketball team that won Gold Medals at 1984 and 1992 Summer Olympics. Michael Jordan is regarded by many as the greatest basketball player of all time; and he played an instrumental role in popularizing the NBA globally in the 1980s and 1990s. Jordan has been honored various times for his contribution to basketball. He was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 2009 and, in 2016, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Here are the 10 major accomplishments of Michael Jordan.
#1 HE WAS THE NCAA COLLEGE PLAYER OF THE YEAR IN 1983 AND 1984
While studying at Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, Michael Jordan failed to get selected to his high school basketball team in his sophomore year as he was considered too short. However, after proving his worth in the junior team, he was selected the following year. Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game (ppg) over his final two seasons of high school play. Post high school, Jordan entered the University of North Carolina in 1981. Here, he played basketball under head coach Dean Smith. In 1982, in his first season at the university, Jordan was named Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year. Moreover, his team won the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) championship with Jordan scoring the winning shot. Jordan led the ACC in scoring in both his sophomore and junior years. He was named the NCAA College Player of the Year in 1983 and in 1984. In 1984, one year before completing his graduation, Jordan dropped out of the North Carolina University as he was selected by Chicago Bulls, an American professional basketball team which competed in the National Basketball Association (NBA) league.
#2 JORDAN WON THE NBA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD IN 1984
When Jordan joined the Chicago Bulls, it was a team which mostly lost and was not among the favorites to win the NBA. Jordan proved his worth in his first season (1984) itself and helped his team to make the playoffs, though they lost in the first round. Jordan scored an average of 28.2 ppg on 51.5% shooting. For his performance, he was named the NBA Rookie of the Year and was selected for the All-Star Game. Moreover, Jordan became the only rookie in NBA history to lead a team in four statistics (points, assists, rebounds, steals). Jordan’s second season in the NBA was cut short due to injury. Despite his injury, Chicago was able to make the playoffs albeit they had a poor record. Jordan returned from injury to score 49 points against the Boston Celtics in the first game of the playoffs and 63 in the second game. His 63 points in the second game is still a record for the highest points by a player in a playoff game. However, despite his stellar performance, the Chicago Bulls were eliminated in the first round of the playoff again.
#3 HE WAS THE FIRST PLAYER IN NBA HISTORY TO LEAD THE LEAGUE IN BOTH SCORING AND STEALS
Jordan was able to achieve remarkable success when he returned fully recovered for the 1986–1987 season. He had one of the most prolific seasons in the history of the NBA game scoring 3,041 points at 37.1 ppg on 48.2% shooting. Jordan thus became only the second player after Wilt Chamberlain to score more than 3,000 points in a single season. Chamberlain had achieved the feat in three seasons: 1960-61, 1961-62 and 1962-63. Jordan still remains the only other player to achieve this feat. In addition to this, Jordan demonstrated his defensive skills too becoming the first player in NBA history to record 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season. However, despite his individual success, the Chicago Bulls again lost in the first round of the playoffs. In the 1987-1988 season, Jordan led the scoring again averaging 35.0 ppg on 53.5% shooting. He won his first NBA MVP as well as the Defensive Player of the Year averaging 1.6 blocks and a league high 3.16 steals per game. Moreover, he became the first player in the history of the NBA to lead the league in both scoring and steals. The Bulls were able to win the first round of the playoffs but they lost the next game to Detroit Pistons.
#4 HE LED THE CHICAGO BULLS TO THREE NBA TITLES FROM 1991 TO 1993
The Chicago Bulls had become a formidable team in the late 1980s and, by adding such players as Scottie Pippen, Bill Cartwright, Horace Grant and John Paxson, they became one of the contenders to win the NBA. The Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1990 and, the following year, they advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history to face the Los Angeles Lakers. The Bulls then defeated the Lakers in the finals 4–1 to win their first NBA championship. Michael Jordan won the scoring title of the season as well as the MVP. Moreover, he won his first NBA Finals MVP award. Jordan and the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season. The Bulls defeated Portland Trail Blazers 4–2 in the NBA Finals; while Jordan won the scoring title as well as the MVP and the Finals MVP. The Bulls defeated Phoenix Suns 4–2 in the finals in the following season to complete a triple peat, i.e. winning three consecutive championships. MJ was again the top scorer and he also won the Finals MVP.
#5 HE LED CHICAGO BULLS TO THREE MORE NBA TITLES FROM 1996 TO 1998
Jordan retired abruptly before the 1993–1994 season. However, after a brief and unsuccessful stint in baseball, he returned to basketball in 1995. He was a bit rusty in this season and the Bulls were defeated by Orlando Magic in the playoffs. After training aggressively, Jordan came back strongly in the next season. He won the scoring title as well as the MVP and the Finals MVP as Chicago Bulls won the championship by defeating the Seattle SuperSonics 4–2. In the 1996–97 NBA season, the Chicago Bulls defeated Utah Jazz 4–2 to win their fifth championship. MJ again won the scoring title and the Finals MVP. However he was beaten for the MVP Award by Karl Malone. In the 1997–98 NBA season, the Bulls won their third straight championship and sixth in the last eight years by beating Utah Jazz 4–2 in the NBA Finals. Jordan won the scoring title of the season as well as the MVP and the Finals MVP. After leading the Chicago Bulls to their second triple peat, Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999. He came back again to play two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003. However, this time he was part of the Washington Wizards. He couldn’t lead them to a playoff appearance in either of the two seasons but he did become the first 40-year-old to tally 43 points in an NBA game. MJ retired for good in 2003.
#6 JORDAN WON A RECORD SIX NBA FINALS MVP AWARDS
The NBA Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) is an award given since the 1955–56 season to the best performing player of the regular season. The award is decided by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Michael Jordan won the award in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1998. As of 2019, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar holds the record for the most MVP awards with a total of 6 awards. MJ is tied second on the list with Bill Russell. Both have won 5 MVP awards. Some believe that Jordan could have got more MVP awards if the judges hadn’t got tired of voting for him. The NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award is an award given since the 1969 to the best performing player in the NBA Finals. Michael Jordan appeared in six NBA Finals in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 1998. He won the award each time. His 6 NBA Finals MVP Awards are by far the most. Shaquille O’Neal, Magic Johnson, LeBron James and Tim Duncan are tied for second place with three apiece. Jordan was also the first person to win the Finals MVP award in three successive seasons. Shaquille O’Neal later repeated the feat from 2000 to 2002.
#7 MICHAEL JORDAN HAS THE HIGHEST PPG AVERAGE IN NBA HISTORY
The NBA scoring title is awarded to the player with the highest points per game (ppg) average in a given season. To qualify for the scoring title, the player must appear in at least 70 games (out of 82) or have at least 1,400 points. Michael Jordan has won the NBA scoring title a record 10 times from 1987 to 1993; and from 1996 to 1998. Wilt Chamberlain is a distant second on the list with 7 titles from 1960 to 1966. No other player has won more than 4 scoring titles. Jordan and Chamberlain are the only players to have won seven consecutive scoring titles. During the course of his career, Jordan accumulated 32,292 points in 1,072 games. His career scoring average of 30.12 is the highest ever in NBA history. He is followed by Wilt Chamberlain who has a ppg of 30.07. No other player has a ppg above 27.5. Jordan’s total of 5,987 points in the playoffs is the second-highest in NBA history. He also has the highest ppg in playoffs in NBA history with 33.45. No other player has a ppg above 30 in playoffs. Allen Iverson is second with 29.73. Jordan also holds the record for most points scored in a playoff game with 63. He scored 50 or more points in eight playoff games, which is twice as many times as any other player.
#8 HE WON TWO OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS
Michael Jordan, while he was still in college, was part of the United States Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The team went 8–0 in the Olympic tournament, averaging 95.4 points per game. Jordan led the team in scoring, averaging 17.1 ppg for the tournament. At the 1992 Summer Olympics held in Barcelona, MJ was a part of the star-studded team which became known as the “Dream Team”. Among other greats, the team featured Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone. The Dream Team defeated its opponents by an average of 44 points en route to the gold medal match against Croatia, in which they defeated Croatia 117–85. Jordan was the only player to start in all the eight games in the 1992 Olympics. He averaged 14.9 ppg, finishing second on the team in scoring. Jordan and fellow teammates Ewing and Mullin are the only American men’s basketball players to win Olympic gold medals both as amateurs and professionals. Michael Jordan is also one of only seven players in history to win an NCAA championship, an NBA championship and an Olympic gold medal.
#9 HE RECEIVED THE PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM IN 2016
Jordan is widely rated as the greatest basketball player of all time by his contemporaries, media, experts as well as the public. In 1999, in an ESPN poll of journalists, athletes and other sports personalities, Michael Jordan was ranked as the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century, above such athletes as Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali. In 1999, the Associated Press placed him second to Babe Ruth in its list of the greatest 20th century athletes. According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll in 2009, Americans consider Jordan the greatest athlete of all-time. Jordan has also featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated a record number of 50 times. In 2009, Jordan was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for his individual career; and the following year, he was inducted again as part of the 1992 US men’s basketball team. In 2016, President Barack Obama honored Michael Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
#10 HE IS ALSO KNOWN FOR HIS CHARITABLE ACTIVITIES
Apart from being one of the greatest basketball players, Michael Jordan has also been a successful businessman and celebrity. In June 2010, Jordan was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 20th-most powerful celebrity in the world. In June 2014, he became the first NBA player to become a billionaire. He was the third richest African American in 2018 and; as of October 2019, his current net worth is estimated at $1.9 billion by Forbes. Moreover, he has the highest earning for any retired athlete. On January 20, 2015, Jordan was awarded the Business Person of the Year for 2014 by Charlotte Business Journal. Jordan is also widely known for his charitable work. After the September 11 attacks, Jordan decided to donate his entire salary while playing for Washington Wizards to the recovery effort and the victims of the attacks. From 2001 to 2014, Jordan hosted an annual golf tournament called the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, which raised funds for several charities. The Make-A-Wish Foundation named Jordan it’s Chief Wish Ambassador in 2008. As of 2019, he had raised more than $5 million for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. After Hurricane Florence damaged parts of North Carolina, including his former hometown of Wilmington, Jordan donated $2 million to relief efforts. He also gave $1 million to aid the Bahamas’ recovery following Hurricane Dorian in 2019.