Michael Jordan's Stellar Life
It is not very often that one person can change someone else’s life by telling a story of his or her own - Michael Jordan's Stellar Life introduction. Michael “Air” Jordan makes that happen. Michael played an important role in changing how people viewed great basketball and strong, hard-working athletes. Michael’s life explains to the world, how with just a little drive, great achievements can be made. Michael’s life began in Brooklyn, New York, on February 17th, 1963, where his parents James and Delores always stood by his side. His father, known for his unending support, always gave Michael advice on what to do, never letting him down.
His mother made sure Michael headed in the right direction with everything he did. As a child he enjoyed athletics, engaging in basketball, baseball and football. He practiced baseball with his dad, persistently playing catch whenever time allowed. Baseball was his favorite. Even at a young age he had already tasted success by being voted Most Valuable Player on his team. “That was the first big accomplishment in my life,” Michael recalled (Harris, Laurie). As the years moved on Jordan took interest in other sports. He played basketball.
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He worked so hard that he decided to make the change to basketball. He tried out for his high school basketball team as a sophomore but did not make it. The coach cut him believing that Michael did not have enough experience and that he was too raw. Michael stated that it was embarrassing to not get a place on the team. Distressed, he refused to surrender himself (Brenner, Richard J 2). Michael began training continuously, constantly working on what he felt would make him a better basketball player, and he strived to prove his coach wrong.
Every time he exercised and grew tired, assuming he should stop, he would shut his eyes and picture that roster without his name on it. This would empower him again making him stronger than before. Two years passed and he was a high school All-American (Brenner, Richard J 3). He had done what he felt needed in order to succeed. Countless colleges throughout the country provided him scholarships (Brenner, Richard J 3). Michael went with the University of North Carolina, making his mother extremely delighted. Delores was a huge fan of the Tar Heels basketball team.
She had always wanted one of her children to go there and when Michael was offered the chance to attend, she was filled with joy (Brenner, Richard J 3). By the finish of his first year he brought enjoyment to the state of North Carolina, pulling off the winning basket in the last moment of the 1982 NCAA college championship game (Brenner, Richard J 4). While leading a team of college favorites to a gold medal at the Summer Olympics in 1984, Michael leaped far and high, playing very successfully. The Spanish team’s coach cried, “He’s not human, he’s a rubber man” (Brenner, Richard J 7).
Michael’s following hurdle brought him right to the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association, nervous and excited at the same time. In the 1984-85 season his big-scoring, mountain high flying custom of basketball snagged him the NBA Rookie of the Year Award (Brenner Richard J 8). In 1984 when Michael originally signed with the Chicago Bulls the NBA’s Uniform Player’s Contract enclosed a clause that precluded players from other hobbies over the off season, including playing basketball. Michael decided that there was no way he wouldn’t play basketball, something he longed to play every day.
He specified that he regularly found gratification on the court, utilizing the summer to progress. He argued and fought until he got his way. The Bulls settled upon an agreement to incorporate what Michael called the “Love of the Game Clause”, which allowed him to play sports in the off season (pg 5). Michael constantly worked hard, becoming an inspiration for many people. As he made a name for himself, he wanted to be with the best, he wanted to play with the best, and wanted to beat the best. Jordan wasn’t considered a teammate until 1991, when he led the Bulls to the NBA Championships and won.
After the game, Magic Johnson of the Lakers, who had just played Jordan for the title, commented on Jordan’s character stating Michael could do the impossible. Being the number one scariest player in the NBA, Magic explained that he wasn’t surprised at what Michael had just done. Naturally, Michael took that as a compliment. He admired Magic and many other great basketball players, but he knew that it didn’t mean he was great. He still had room to improve. In 1992 and 1993, Michael and the Bulls won both Championships making it his first “three-peat”.
Each year Michael was given the award of MVP (Brenner, Richard J 12). Topping his first accomplishment, Michael was considered the greatest basketball player in history but it was not until he completed a “three-peat” again that he was labeled the greatest basketball player ever (pg 74). He showed that “Air Jordan” still held the title of highest flier on the court, steering the Bulls to a second three peat in the NBA Championships between 1996 and 1998. Jordan again received three more MVP awards (Brenner, Richard J 14). He was on top, and determined to stay
there (Price, S. L). At the beginning of his career Michael searched around for someone to market him. He attended various meetings, not sure what to look for. He grew up with Adidas shoes. Typically his plan was to hopefully get them to represent him, but they never called. His agent, David Falk was constantly setting up meetings. One meeting happened to be with Nike. Michael had no desire to go with Nike, in fact he didn’t even like their shoe. Forced to the meeting, he was quiet and had a negative attitude the whole time.
They offered him $250,000 per year for five years, including annuity, incentives and royalties on all Nike basketball items (pg 16). Jordan realized the good deal in front of him, but he wanted to meet with others first. When others did not offer as good of deals as Nike, the decision became apparent. Nike it was. Michael Jordan is known for many of his biggest games. Any person who ever attended a game remembers Michael Jordan and some of his biggest signatures. There are a few specific games in which he made his greatest achievements.
The top highlight of his career is when he stole the ball to win a victory in the final minute, winning his sixth NBA title. As soon as Jordan let go of the ball about 18 feet away from the net with seven seconds left in the last quarter, every player, every coach, and every single fan knew it went in, yet that is not what set Jordan apart from the crowd. It wasn’t his 45 points that he was remembered for. Throughout that game his defense was phenomenal, the steal won the game. His hard work, effort, and heart made him finish (Condor, Bob).
Every good basketball player knows that in order to win the game the individual has to have heart. Michael Jordan had heart. The second highlight of Michael’s career brought out the best in him. The morning of the game it was not looking good for Michael Jordan. Going for the fifth title he climbed out of bed sick from food poisoning. He got ready that day in a dark room with a bucket by his side. Number 23 ran on the court and Michael was Michael. In forty-four courageous minutes of the game he scored 38 points. After the last buzzer rang Michael commented “I feel better now that we won” (Condor, Bob).
The third highlight of Michael Jordan’s career put a dent in his stats. Two overtimes were played while playing the Boston Celtics. The first was because Michael made two free throws to make the score even at the end of the fourth quarter. Jordan not being able to sink a jump shot from the free throw line put them in the second overtime. However, unable to pull through, the Celtics took the win. Although not winning the game was a disappointment, Jordan canned 63 points and impressed the whole world in the second season of his career (Condor, Bob).
Still one of the most amazing memories in most people’s minds, the fourth highlight of Jordan’s career. In a make-or-break game with the Bulls playing the Cavaliers, Michael reassures teammate, Craig Hodges during a time out with three seconds left on the clock that he is not to worry; he was going to hit the shot. Jordan did. Flying in mid-air with two defenders on him he laid in a double pumped 15 foot shot that rounded the net and advanced the Bulls to the second round of the Playoffs. Most people could not believe he made the shot, not understanding how he stayed in the air for such a lengthy time (Condor, Bob).
In the fall of 1993, Michael had shocked the world broadcasting that he had decided to retire from the game he loved (Brenner, Richard J). Many people were upset. It was all over the news, questioning whether or not he would return or what he would do next. Infamous amounts of stories were being told about why he had made this decision. Great disappointment shocked him hearing that his father was murdered while sleeping in the car on the side of the road. Rumors suggested that this was why Michael had come to the conclusion to retire. No one ever really knew the truth in the matter.
Again Michael startled the world by announcing his tryouts to become a big league baseball player (Brenner, Richard J). Not hitting well enough to succeed in his dream as a baseball player he brought joy again by advertising his return to basketball. Two words, “I’m back”, he claimed at the end of the 1994-1995 season (Brenner, Richard J). The fifth major highlight in Jordan’s career took place after Michael’s first retirement. Now back from baseball with the number 45 jersey. Canning 55 points, he racked up the record for most single game points and field goals after only eight practices and four games back.
Helping the Bulls execute on the Knicks for the first time since 1993. Fans quoted “It’s like he never left” (Condor, Bob). Throughout Michael Jordan’s whole basketball career there was not much time for injury and sickness. He pushed too hard to not play. He worked too hard, thought too much, and practiced enough that he never wanted to be sitting. Not very often did this happen but once in a while he didn’t play. During regular season games in the years of 1984-85 and 1986-98 he only missed seven games out of 848. He was healthy and he strove to be his very best. But in the years 1985-86 he missed quite a lot of games.
64 out of 82 games he did not play because of his ankle (pg 28). In his second season during the third game at Golden State he broke the navicular bone on his left foot. He went to tons of different doctors but each of them told him the same thing, it was just a sprain. A CAT scan finally detected the break. He was told to stay off of it and to be extra careful. After seven weeks of no basketball and frequent doctor appointments he was told the crack had not mended itself enough for him to return to play (pg 29). A conference meeting was held over the phone one late night with his doctors and his boss.
None of his doctors knew how to break it to Michael that he wasn’t ready to play yet. There was no way that he could go any longer without playing basketball. For the sake of his team he decided to get away for a while (pg 29). He headed back to North Carolina and started playing even though his doctors had encouraged him not to. For the first couple days he just shot baskets, nothing physical; he just wanted to shoot around again. He started playing some light one-on-one, knowing that he would have to be extra careful with the physical contact part of the game. Soon light two-on-two and then he was participating in full court games.
Pending a four week period, Michael had worked himself back into basketball shape and not a soul knew a thing about it. When Jordan returned for another doctor’s meeting they could not believe how strong his left foot had become. He had turned his left foot into a stronger foot than his right. His strength test was miraculous compared to the results from four weeks ago (pg 29). Another conference called, but once again the doctors were afraid to speak up. No one wanted to explain to Michael’s bosses that he was ready to play. He finally worked up enough guts to tell them that he was going back and that they had no choice (pg 29).
Following this conference Michael came back and looked as good as new. Jordan’s statistics went through the roof in just his second year of basketball, and only got better as the years went on. Throughout his career he scored a total of 29,277 points in the NBA. He played in 840 consecutive games with at least ten points every game, this being an NBA record. Michael once totaled 63 points in one playoff game, also an NBA record. Jordan had 10 NBA scoring titles and six NBA championships. He always put it on the line when it came to a championship game. Never once did he back down.
Jordan had six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Awards, which is also a high in NBA history. Additionally he gathered up five NBA MVP awards in regular season. These are just a few of the many awards he obtained (Brenner, Richard J). Michael Jordan puts a spin on basketball. He makes it something completely different from other sports. In one of the books that Michael wrote he sums up everything in just a few words: If I hadn’t evolved at my own pace, I wouldn’t have been able to paint the tiny details that defined my career…some of these young kids have that big blob of paint without any details.
Their careers are just a mess of color without any definition because they haven’t taken the time to work on the details or they don’t appreciate or understand the process. This statement shows that he took the time to work on the small stuff. He wanted to fix the little things and be great at the big ones. Fundamentals made a huge difference in Jordan’s career. They shaped how he would become the greatest basketball player ever. Michael Jordan put his signature on basketball, doing things his way (Price, S. L). These reasons are why he is remembered as the greatest basketball player ever.
Another reason why he is recognized as the greatest is that he never thought he was the best. He commented that the world withholds many great players. Admiring players like Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. “There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player”, he remarked and he didn’t believe that only one existed. Michael replied that every single person exists in a distinctive era (pg 155). He did not at all think that he was the best but he always tried to be. Michael always urged that a truly great athlete who isn’t selfish and self-absorbed is extremely rare. He always aimed never to be that person.
He did not want to be seen as self-absorbed; he did not want to be the “unsportsmanlike” basketball player. He strove to become the better athlete and he achieved it (Feinstein, John). Listening he agreed that he was conscious of his success but he never stopped seeking to become better (pg 155). Michael Jordan’s life shows a perfect example of what great basketball players should strive to be. He changed peoples’ views on great athletes and on basketball. He made lasting impressions in other’s minds on how the game should be played. Jordan thought of everything as an opportunity and proved that achievements can be great.
Michael changed other players to view life and sports in that way. Michael worked as hard as possible on the basketball court to help his team succeed; Michael always gives his best. He realizes his mistakes and tries his best to fix them. Michael also a family man, with his three children, he visited hospitals, helping children. Michael is a mighty leader for many people. Today, Jordan takes the time to do every task that comes his way. He is trying to stay away from the public eye and make a good example for his children and for others. I wonder how many more Michael Jordan’s are born in the world every day.