You think you know everything about MJ…
It’s not too debatable to say that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. His individual and team accomplishments throughout his illustrious career are myriad and well-known to every sports fan in the world. That said, there are some things about MJ that you may not know that might change the way you think about His Airness.
20. The first billion dollar athlete
MJ became the first athlete to reach a net worth of a BILLION dollars in 2015.
19. Growth Spurt
After famously being cut from the varsity team his sophomore year of high school, Jordan grew four inches in the summer and trained extremely hard, and the rest is history.
18. Major Decision
Jordan returned to UNC in 1986 to finish his degree in cultural geography.
17. Similar Skills?
In 1984, the Portland Trail Blazers drafted Sam Bowie over Jordan with the second pick because they already had “a guard with “similar skills” in Clyde Drexler. Clyde was a great player, but this choice certainly proved foolish.
16. The Freeze-Out
Jealous of all the attention the then rookie Jordan was receiving, Isiah Thomas organized a “freeze-out” of Jordan at the All-Star game, where none of the veteran players would pass him the ball. This was the start of the long-running feud between Jordan and Thomas.
In the 1986 Playoffs, Jordan’s Bulls were swept by Larry Bird’s Celtics, but not without Jordan setting the still-unbroken record of scoring 63 points in a playoff game.
14. A Gambling Man
Jordan has been a big gambler for a long time. In the 1993 Playoffs, he was seen gambling in Atlantic City the night before a game against the Knicks.
13. An Expenisve Round
Author Richard Esquinas claims in a book that he won $1.25 million from Jordan from playing golf against him.
12. “The Spirit”
On November 1, 1994, in the midst of Jordan’s sojourn into baseball, the Bulls retired his number 23 jersey and erected a statue of Jordan outside the United Center called “The Spirit”…not knowing that he would soon return…
11. “I’m back.”
Jordan decided to return to the NBA and announced his decision on March 18, 1995 with a simple, two-word press release that stated: “I’m back.”
10. Father’s Day
MJ won his fourth title in 1996 and the deciding game was played on Father’s Day. This being the first championship he’d won after his father’s murder in 1993, Jordan was overcome with emotion.
9. The Second Comeback.
Despite his frequent denials of a second comeback, Jordan was inspired by his friend Mario Lemieux’s comeback to the NHL in 2000.
8. Helping Victims
Upon announcing his decision to play for the Wizards in September 2001, Jordan pledged to donate his salary to victims of the 9/11 attacks.
7. Breaking Barriers
When Jordan assumed majority ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) in 2010, he became the first African-American majority owner in the NBA.
6. The Love of the Game
In his playing days, Jordan had a special “Love of the Game Clause” written in his contracts that stated he could play basketball against anyone, anywhere, at any time.
5. Ashamed of Air Jordan?
Though his high-flying dunks helped make him the global superstar, Jordan has often lamented that his other skills, like his defense, passing and shooting, never received more praise, and the attention paid to his dunking may have hurt the development of fundamental basketball skills in future generations of players.
4. The Crying Jordan
The Crying Jordan meme that has taken social media by storm is derived from a photo of Jordan crying at his Basketball Hall of Fame induction in 2009 taken by AP photographer Stephan Savoia. The meme began to take off in 2014, and hasn’t slowed down since.
3. An Expensive Goodbye
As part of Jordan’s 2006 divorce settlement with his first wife, Juanita Vanoy, Jordan paid her $168 million, which was the largest celebrity divorce settlement in history, at the time.
2. A Nice Paycheck
Jordan makes an estimated $40 million a year in endorsement money.
1. Play Through…
…especially in his post-NBA years, Jordan LOVES to golf, but he is an extremely fast player who gets annoyed when other golfers won’t let him go ahead of them.