When did michael jordan start playing basketball? There is only one athlete that this phrase could be attributed to and it’s the one and only Michael Jordan. The Chicago Bulls star captivated the nation from his college days at North Carolina and used his professional career to break through barriers of what a basketball player could be. Jordan became a global icon in his 15-year NBA career and continues to be an international sensation.
Today’s basketball stars, including Kevin Durant, Candace Parker, Damian Lillard, Breanna Stewart and the NBA’s new scoring king, LeBron James, have built fanbases through excellence on and off the court. The importance of a personal brand continues to increase. But Jordan literally created his own brand.
Michael Jordan’s early days
Michael Jordan was born on Feb. 17, 1963 to James and Deloris Jordan. The couple was living in Brooklyn, New York, at the time, but moved to Wilmington, North Carolina, a few years after he was born. Jordan has two older brothers, an older sister and a younger sister.
Michael Jordan was motivated as a child by his brother, Larry, who also played basketball. They both wore No. 45 jerseys, but when they played on the same team, the younger brother had to pick a new number. So he cut 45 in half and rounded up to No. 23. He carried it through college, the NBA and into icon status.
The only time Michael Jordan wore 45 after committing to 23 was after the return from his first retirement in March of 1995. He finished out the regular season and the first round of the playoffs in the new number before struggling in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals and deciding he had better luck in No. 23.4. Michael Jordan was very close with his father, James. In “The Last Dance,” he revealed that he was suspended three times during his ninth grade year and his father put him back on track.
“My father pulled me aside that summer,” he shared, “and he said, ‘Look, you don’t look like you’re headed in the right direction. If you want to go about doing all this mischievous stuff, you can forget sports.’ That’s all I needed to hear. It was like from that point on, it was tunnel vision.”
Michael Jordan’s legend starts at North Carolina
As a freshman with the North Carolina Tar Heels, Michael Jordan hit the game-winning jump shot in the victory over the Georgetown Hoyas to win the 1982 national championship.
“That turned my name from Mike to Michael Jordan,” he said in “The Last Dance.” “It gave me the confidence that I needed to start to excel at the game of basketball.”
Michael Jordan received his degree from the University of North Carolina in 1986 when he returned to complete his classes after breaking his foot. He majored in geography.
Michael Jordan wore a pair of North Carolina practice shorts under his Chicago Bulls shorts for every game.
Michael Jordan dominates the basketball world
Michael Jordan was selected by the Chicago Bulls as the No. 3 overall pick in the 1984 NBA draft. Ahead of him was Hakeem Olajuwon by the Houston Rockets and Sam Bowie by the Portland Trail Blazers. Other stars in the draft class included Charles Barkley of the Philadelphia 76ers and John Stockton of the Utah Jazz.
Michael Jordan was named the 1984-85 NBA Rookie of the Year. He finished his first season with the Chicago Bulls starting all 82 games with a stat line of 28.2 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game and a .515 field goal percentage.
A look at Michael Jordan’s NBA debut
While he wasn’t expected to be the greatest player ever, there were still high hopes for Jordan. He played with Team USA in the Olympics prior to his rookie season. He averaged a team-high 17.1 points and helped the United States win a gold medal in the men’s basketball tournament.
Michael Jordan also flashed extreme self-confidence during one of his first press availabiliities with the Bulls. His soon-to-be-famous charm was on full display. The stage was set for Jordan, who kicked off his rookie season in the starting lineup. He remained a starter for the majority of his career. Out of the 1072 NBA games he played, MJ started 1039.
In Michael Jordan’s NBA debut, the Bulls took on the Washington Bullets (now Wizards). Jordan played 40 minutes and recorded 16 points, seven assists, six rebounds, four blocks and two steals. He shot 5-16 from the field and connected on six of his seven free-throw attempts. The Bulls won the game 109-93. Orlando Woodridge led the team in scoring with 28 points.
Jordan’s dominant performance laid the groundwork for a successful career. Just two games later, he scored 37 points in a 116-110 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. He stood out in the Rookie of the Year race and secured the award at the end of the season.
Michael Jordan finished the 1984-85 season averaging 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists. He led the Bulls to the playoffs for the first time in four years.
He continued his career-long chase of one-upping his own spectacular performances and cemented his legacy as one of the most impressive talents of all time.
Even with a brief hiatus in the middle of his career, Michael Jordan ended his career as a 14-time All-Star, 10-time scoring champion, and six-time NBA champion. The Hall of Famer changed the game and left some near-impossible shoes to fill. His legacy remains a topic of conversation among NBA fans.
Michael Jordan’s Early Years
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 17, 1963. Jordan’s parents, James and Deloris, were originally from North Carolina but were living in New York when Michael was born so James could attend school.
Michael was his parents’ third son. James, called Ronnie by the family, was the oldest child. Larry was Michael’s second brother – he was only a year older and was Michael’s first playmate.
Michael Jordan also has two sisters: Deloris, called Sis by the family, was the oldest while Roslyn was born after Michael.
The family returned from New York before Roslyn was born and when Michael was still just a baby at five months old.
They would eventually settle in Wilmington, North Carolina to be close to James’ work at a General Electric plant. That was where MJ grew up. It was in Wilmington where Michael Jordan first played basketball.
Starting to Play Basketball
No one knows the exact date, or Michael’s age, when he first played basketball. But the family settled in Wilmington when he was five years old. By the time he was nine years old in 1972, Michael Jordan is reported to have told his mother he would one day play basketball in the Olympics.
Jordan made this bold prediction after watching the U.S. Men’s Basketball team lose to the Russians in the controversial 1972 Gold Medal match.
By this point the Jordans had a hoop in their driveway and Michael and Larry were regularly playing basketball against each other.
Michael Jordan’s first sport was baseball. He was pushed to baseball by his father James’ great love for the sport. Michael had real success with baseball at a young age.
He won the MVP for his twelve year old baseball team when they won the state little league title.
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