The world’s greatest ever basketballer, Michael Jordan, has turned 50 today, with tributes flowing across websites and TV networks for “His Airness”. Jordan has had an extraordinary life, which extended well beyond the hardwood floor.

Born in New York in 1963, he moved to North Carolina as a toddler. In the 1970s he was cut from his High School basketball team for being too short (5’11 at the time). This motivated him and the following year he was the star of the team, and in 1981 earnt a scholarship to the University of North Carolina.  In 1982 he started getting attention, capturing an NCAA championship against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown Universirty, with a clutch game winning jumpshot from the baseline.

University of North Carolina basketball player Michael Jordan shoots the winning basket in the 1982 NCAA Finals against Georgetown University. (Copyright Bettmann/Jerry Lodriguss/COR)

University of North Carolina basketball player Michael Jordan shoots the winning basket in the 1982 NCAA Finals against Georgetown University. (Copyright Bettmann/Jerry Lodriguss/COR)

In 1984 he nominated for the NBA draft and was selected as the third pick, by the Chicago Bulls. He was named rookie of the year, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated, and made the All Star Team.

During the 1986/87 season, Jordan averaged a massive 37.1 points a game and became only the second player in league history to score 3000 points in a season (Wilt Chamberlain being the other).

In 1989/90, Phil Jackson takes over as Bulls head coach, and the following season, Chicago and Jordan win their first NBA championship, beating th LA Lakers in 5 games. MJ wins both the season and finals MVP awards.

Jordan and the Bulls won 6 titles in the 1990s, retiring for the second time in 1999. Then in 2001 he made a comeback, this time with the Washington Wizards. But due to injury it is short lived and on April 16, 2003 he played his final game.

Jordan’s Awards

  • Six-time NBA champion (1991-93, 1996-98)
  • MVP (1988, ’91, ’92, ’96, ’98)
  • 10-time All-NBA First Team (1987-93, 1996-98)
  • All-NBA Second Team (1985)
  • Defensive Player of the Year (1988)
  • Nine-time All-Defensive First Team (1988-93, 1996-98)
  • Rookie of the Year (1985)
  • 14-time All-Star; All-Star MVP (1988, ’96, ’98)
  • One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History (’96)
  • Olympic gold medalist (1984, ’92)

Jordan’s Career Stats

The debate whether Michael Jordan is still the greatest ever with stars such as Kobe Bryant and Lebron James doing amazing things continues to run hot. But looking over MJ’s stats shows just how amazing he was over such a long period. Add to that his ability to constantly close games out and 6 world titles, and I think there is no question over his status as basketball’s best.

jordan-career-averages

What are your thoughts on Michael Jordan?