GOAT – Michael Jordan’s Basketball Career Part 1

After watching The Last Dance on Netflix, we thought, we’d share a synopsis of Michael Jordan’s career.  While there is debate across boxing, tennis, football and nearly all sports, we can almost agree that the greatest of all time in basketball is uncontested.   Here’s the rise of basketballs greatest ever player:

Michael Jordan 3

Photo Credit- Flickr

School Years

Jordan started his basketball career at Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, where he also played baseball, and football.  He tried out for the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, but at 5’11” (1.80 m), he was deemed too short to play at that level.

This would spur his mindset into the tunnel vision tenacity to overcome anything that he was told he could not do!   Not making team motivated Jordan to improve through dedication and hard work, one year later and he became the star of Laney’s junior varsity team.  The following summer, he grew four inches (10 cm) and trained rigorously, Jordan would averaged more than 25 points per game in his final two seasons of high school play, his mastering of the sport was clearly evident which attracted a plethora of colleges looking to secure the star of Laney High School.

Jordan was recruited by numerous college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, Syracuse, and Virginia.   In 1981, Jordan accepted a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he studied cultural geography.

The most successful teams in the NBA

College Years

As a freshman in University of North Carolina he was named Atlantic Coast Conference Freshman of the Year.  Then in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown,  Jordan made a legendary game-winning jump shot, which he would later describe as the major turning point in his basketball career.

He was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American First Team in both his sophomore (1983) and junior (1984) seasons.  After much advice, Jordan left North Carolina in 1984, one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft.

It would be the much ailing Chicago Bulls who select Jordan with the third overall pick.  Little did they know, Jordan would be their star player going forward, leading the Bulls to  6 NBA Championships.

NBA Early Years

During Jordan’s first year with the Chicago Bulls, he averaged 28.2 ppg on 51.5% shooting,  and the start of the media storm began.  Roy S. Johnson of The New York Times described him as “the phenomenal rookie of the Bulls” in November, then Jordan appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the heading “A Star Is Born” in December.  Jordan would go on to be voted Rookie of the year and led his team to the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

A poor landing resulted in a broken foot for Jordan early in the second season resulting in the Bulls start player missing 64 games, however they made the playoffs but in the fifth worst record of any team to qualify for the playoffs in NBA history. Jordan had sufficiently recovered to play in the playoffs but would face the Celtics who were the best team in the league, Jordan ended up setting a still-unbroken record for points in a playoff game with 63 in Game 2 against the Celtics!  The Celtics would prevail however and one the playoff contest.

The Original Dream Team

Jordan was back in full force and injury free for the 1986-87 season and he would show basketball fans around the world just how good he was.  He had one of the most prolific scoring seasons in NBA history. He became the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to score 3,000 points in a season, averaging a league high 37.1 points on 48.2% shooting!  In addition, Jordan demonstrated his defensive prowess, as he became the first player in NBA history to record 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season.  Despite Jordan’s success, Magic Johnson playing for the Lakers won the league’s Most Valuable Player Award.  The Bulls reached 40 wins, and advanced to the playoffs for the third consecutive year. However, they were again swept by the Boston Celtics, who are the time where the most successful team in the NBA.

The the 1987-88 season Jordan again led the league in scoring, averaging 35.0 ppg on 53.5% shootingand won his first league MVP Award.  He was also named defensive player of the year.  The Bulls made it to the playoffs again but once more the NBA Championship eluded them when the Detroit Piston knocked them out in round 2 of the playoffs.

The 10 Greatest NBA players of all time

Jordan led the league in scoring again in 1988-89, averaging 32.5 ppg on 53.8% shooting from the field.   The Pistons would be the road blocker to glory once again, defeating the Bulls, in six games during the playoffs.

The Pistons once again would knock Chicago Bulls out of the playoffs in 1989-90! But the Bulls had some new ammunition starting to work this season,  young improving players like Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, and a new coach Phil Jackson were evident improvements for the Bulls. Once again Jordan was the Bulls star player, averaging a league leading 33.6 ppg on 52.6% shooting.

Part 2 Jordan’s rise to the top of basketball and the NBA

 

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