Michael Jordan Biography: The Epic Journey in Michael Jordan’s Biography

Michael Jordan was born on February 17, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York. His family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina when he was still a toddler.

Developing His Basketball Skills

From a young age, basketball became Jordan’s passion. As a sophomore in high school, he failed to make the varsity team. But that failure only pushed him to work harder on his game. The next summer he grew 4 inches and started to garner attention from college recruiters.

By his junior year he made the varsity team and averaged 25 points per game. As a senior he was selected to the McDonald’s All-American Team after averaging a triple-double: 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 10.1 assists.

College Recruitment

Jordan was recruited by numerous top college basketball programs. He selected the University of North Carolina, where he majored in cultural geography.

Table 1 summarizes Jordan’s high school basketball career and college recruitment:

Sophomore YearJunior YearSenior YearCollege
Failed to make varsity teamMade varsity team<br>25 points per gameMcDonald’s All-American<br>29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, 10.1 assistsUniversity of North Carolina

College and NCAA Championship

As a freshman at North Carolina, Jordan averaged 13.5 points per game and shot 53.4% from the field. His coach, the legendary Dean Smith, was impressed by his athleticism and competitive fire.

In his sophomore season, Jordan averaged 20 points per game and sunk what would become his signature shot – a jumper at the buzzer to lift UNC over Georgetown. This catapulted Jordan into the national spotlight.

The Shot

In the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown, Jordan hit a 16-foot jump shot to give North Carolina a 63–62 victory. The dramatic winning shot cemented Jordan’s status as a rising superstar.

Table 2 outlines Jordan’s statistics and accomplishments over his 3 years playing NCAA basketball at UNC:

13.5 points per game 53.4% FG20 points per game winning shot in NCAA Championship game17.7 points per game ACC Player of the Year

Early NBA Career

Jordan was selected 3rd overall in the 1984 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. He quickly made an impact by average 28.2 points per game and appearing on the cover of Sports Illustrated in just his rookie season.

In his second season, at age 22, Jordan became the youngest player to score over 3,000 points in a season. Unfortunately he missed most of that season with a foot injury.

First NBA Contract

As a rookie in 1984, Jordan signed a 7-year $6 million dollar contract with the Chicago Bulls. This was one of the highest starting salaries for an NBA rookie at the time.

Table 3 shows Jordan’s stats and salary over the first 5 years of his NBA career:

YearPoints per GameEarnings
1985-8622.7 (Injured)$630,000
1988-8932.5$2 million

Bulls Championship 3-Peat

In 1991, Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to their first ever NBA championship, defeating Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers. Jordan was named the NBA Finals MVP, averaging over 31 points per game in the series.

The Bulls would go on to win 3 straight championships from 1991-1993 with Jordan claiming the Finals MVP award each time. He cemented his legacy as the league’s preeminent superstar.

The Jordan Rules

The defensive tactic designed by the Detroit Pistons to limit Jordan’s effectiveness in games was dubbed the “Jordan Rules”. The strategy called for physically targeting Jordan through double and triple teams. While effective in 1989 and 1990, the Jordan Rules failed in the 1991 playoffs against Jordan’s Bulls.

This table displays Jordan’s scoring averages and opponents in the three championship series wins:

YearOpponentPoints Per Game
1991Los Angeles Lakers31.2
1992Portland Trail Blazers35.8
1993Phoenix Suns41.0

First Retirement

On October 6, 1993 at just 30 years old and on top of the basketball world, Michael Jordan announced his retirement from basketball. He cited a loss in desire to play the game after his father’s murder just 3 months prior.

Jordan pursued professional baseball in 1994, playing for the Birmingham Barons, a Minor League affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. He returned to basketball 17 months after his retirement.

Space Jam Movie

In 1996, Jordan starred in the live-action/animated sports comedy film Space Jam. Jordan portrayed himself alongside Bugs Bunny and other Looney Tunes characters. The movie grossed over $250 million worldwide making it the highest grossing basketball film of all-time.

Table 5 shows some stats related to Jordan’s impromptu baseball career and Hollywood success:

Birmingham Barons StatsSpace Jam Movie
.202 Batting AverageHighest Grossing Basketball Movie Ever
3 Home Runs$250 million box office
51 Runs Batted InReleased in 1996

Second 3-Peat

Jordan returned to basketball near the end of the 1994-95 season with a famous two-word press release saying, “I’m back.” He led the Bulls to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the Orlando Magic.

After a full season back, Jordan regained league MVP and NBA Championship glory by leading the Bulls to titles in 1996, 1997, and 1998 for a second three-peat.

The Flu Game

In Game 5 of the 1997 Finals, an ill Jordan battled through flu-like symptoms to score 38 points, capped by a game winning 3-pointer. This performance demonstrated his unmatched will to win in any circumstance.

Here’s a summary of Jordan’s second three-peat with the Bulls:

YearOpponentSeries StatsResult
1996Seattle Sonics27.3 PPGBulls in 6 Games
1997Utah Jazz32.3 PPGBulls in 6 Games
1998Utah Jazz33.5 PPGBulls in 6 Games

Second Retirement

Following the 1998 championship season, coach Phil Jackson’s contract was not renewed and the team began rebuilding. This prompted Jordan to retire a second time in January 1999.

Jordan finished his Bulls career with 6 championships, 6 NBA Finals MVP awards, and 5 regular season MVP awards. He revolutionized shoe deals for athletes through his iconic Nike Air Jordan brand.

Washington Wizards Comeback

At age 38 Jordan returned to the NBA as part owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. He also decided to play, donating his salary to relief efforts after the 9/11 attacks. However injuries impacted his effectiveness over two seasons in Washington.

Table 7 outlines some defining stats for Jordan with the Wizards before retiring for a third and final time:

SeasonPoints per GameAge

Post-Playing Legacy

In addition to his revolutionary impact on basketball and athletic branding, Jordan has accumulated one of the biggest personal fortunes among all athletes.

His net worth is estimated at $1.7 billion due to lucrative sneaker deals and business partnerships with leading brands in sports, apparel, and more.

Some major Jordan business successes since retiring as a player:

  • Becoming primary owner of the Charlotte Hornets NBA franchise
  • Release of multiple iconic Air Jordan models with Nike
  • Opening luxury restaurants (Steakhouse NINETEEN in Toronto)
  • Auto dealership sponsorships (Mercedes-Benz in North Carolina)

Today the Jordan brand earns over $3 billion annually for Nike, cementing Michael Jordan as one of the most influential sports icons ever.

Recent Success of Air Jordan Shoes

As Michael Jordan has expanded his billionaire personal business empire, the popularity of Air Jordan sneakers continues rising. The Jordan 11 model “Cool Grey” sold out in minutes online in 2021, highlighting ongoing demand for the iconic shoe line bearing his name and “Jumpman” logo.


Michael Jordan’s legendary career and continued impact leave no doubt he is one the most influential athletics icons of the modern era. His supernatural talent, unparalleled competitiveness, and charismatic persona transformed basketball’s popularity globally.

After dominating basketball with 6 championships and 5 MVPs, Jordan has found even greater success in business and sports ownership. His Jordan brand generates billions for Nike, and he owns the Charlotte Hornets, a fast-rising NBA franchise. Jordan also opened high-end restaurants and founded other companies bearing his name.

Though his playing days ended long ago after 15 stellar seasons, Michael Jordan’s legacy continues to grow as current stars like LeBron James chase his ring count and records. But more than on-court achievements, Jordan showed athletes their earning power off-court in business and endorsements. There will never be an athlete with the same magnetic and mass appeal of “Air Jordan.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Who influenced Michael Jordan?

Jordan credited his parents and siblings for their constant support in his pursuit of basketball. He also looked up to David Thompson as his basketball role model when he was younger. Later, Jordan became close friends with Charles Barkley and Tiger Woods.

How much is Michael Jordan worth?

Forbes estimates Michael Jordan’s current net worth at $1.7 billion as of 2022. The vast majority of his wealth comes from his Jordan brand partnership with Nike, which earns an estimated $3.14 billion in annual revenue.

Is Michael Jordan the GOAT?

Michael Jordan is considered the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) by most basketball pundits and fans. He consistently tops rankings as the best player ever, surpassing legends like Magic Johnson, Bill Russell and LeBron James. His undefeated record in NBA Finals series clinches Jordan’s GOAT status for many observers.

What number was Michael Jordan?

Jordan wore #23 for the vast majority of his career, including during all 6 championship seasons with the Bulls. Upon returning from his first retirement in 1995, Jordan briefly wore #45 (his baseball number in the MLB). After a few games he returned to the iconic #23 jersey by popular demand.

How much were Michael Jordan’s rookie shoes?

The first ever Air Jordan sneakers, named the Air Jordan 1 after Jordan himself, retailed for $65 USD at launch. Adjusted for inflation, this equals about $170 in today’s dollars. That original AJ1 shoe sparked a sneaker empire that still earns billions annually.