Michael Jordan needs no introduction. He is one of the most famous and recognizable athletes in the world. Along with Tiger Woods, he is also in a rare company of billionaire athletes. Many kids call him only MJ, his nickname while playing in the NBA. Jordan won six titles in the NBA, broke many records, and bought a team in the sports. What are some of the biggest accomplishments of Michael Jordan?
Nowadays, Jordan is the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets. He also owns the 23XL Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Michael played 15 seasons in the NBA, with the Chicago Bulls, and then two with the Washington Wizards. Jordan not only won titles but managed to continue the popularity set by Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Some would say Jordan popularized the NBA around the world in the 1990s, becoming a global icon in the process.
Recognized as one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation, Jordan helped many brands grow larger than ever. For example, some 40 years ago, Nike played a second fiddle to Adidas and other sports brands. Bur Jordan with his Air Jordan brand helped Nike grow into this global leader for sportswear.
During the 1990s, Jordan made marketing much more fun and efficient. He endorsed many brands and made commercials that we still remember.
Last year, he also starred as himself in the Emmy Award-winning miniseries, The Last Dance, a documentary about his last season with the Bulls.
Let’s talk about Michael Jordan and his accomplishments.
Many fans remember Jordan as this amazing winner from his NBA days. But he won even before stepping on an NBA court. He enrolled at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1981. Soon, he grew into an important member of the school’s basketball team.
Jordan and his team won the NCAA Division I Championship in 1982 against Patrick Ewing and Georgetown University. Jordan scored the final basket of the game.
After his junior year in 1984, he left college to join the NBA. While playing professionally, he got his bachelor’s degree in geography.
Rookie of the Year
From the moment he stepped on an NBA basketball court, Jordan vowed fans. During his rookie season, he averaged 28.2 points per game on 51.5% shooting from the floor. He helped the Bulls, a team that won 35% of their games in the previous three seasons, get into the playoffs.
Fans loved him, and even opposing fans cheered for him. Jordan filled any arena, home court, or opposing arena. Critics and experts described him as the phenomenal rookie of the Bulls.
In December, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, with the caption reading “A Star is Born”. Fans voted him as an All-Star starter.
He capped the amazing season by winning the Rookie of the Year award. His team finished the season 38-44 but then lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs.
MVP of the League
Some would argue that Jordan should have won a couple of more MVP awards. He won the regular-season MVP award five times, in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998. There are at least two more times he could have won.
In 1993 Charles Barkley won the award, and then the two faced off in the Finals. Jordan won the battle in the Finals and earned the Finals MVP. In 1997, Karl Malone won the award, but his Jazz team lost in the Finals to Jordan.
Jordan is second on the list of all-time MVP winners. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has six of those in his pocket. So far, Lebron James has won the award four times.
The Free-throw Dunk
Michael Jordan won the dunk contest in 1987 and 1988. During the 1980s and 1990s, stars had no problem participating in the event.
And in 1988, Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins gave fans one of the most amazing dunk contests in history.
Jordan capped the win with a perfect 50 dunk from the free-throw line. Nobody before Jordan has dunked from the free-throw line. After him, many players have copied the dunk.
Six-Time NBA Champion
If there is one accomplishment that no player will touch is his Finals record. Jordan made the Finals six times and won it six times. He has never lost a Finals round. Bill Russell has 11 titles, but he lost one Finals.
Jordan won the title in 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998. And he is one of the rare stars with a three-peat. He did it twice, from 1991 to 1993, and from 1996 to 1998.
We said before that Jordan single-handedly helped Nike grow into a global leader in sportswear. He signed his first deal with Nike in 1984. Today, he serves on the Nike Inc. board of directors.
Jordan and Nike is a fun story. Jordan didn’t actually want to sign with Nike. He preferred Adidas, but Nike gave him a better deal.
Under Nike, he launched his signature Air Jordan basketball sneaker. With the initial contract, Nike gave Jordan a generous 25% in royalties.
The sneakers proved an instant hit. They grew into popularity, with every kid around the world wanting to buy one. They wanted Jordan’s sneakers.
In 2018, Nike inked almost $2.9 billion in revenue from the Air Jordan line alone.
Hall of Fame
Michael Jordan had one of the most amazing NBA careers ever. It is only logical that he made it into the Basketball Hall of Fame. He got into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame two times.
The first time, he got in as an individual, as part of the class of 2009. For his career, MJ averaged 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game.
And then in 2010, he got into the Hall as a member of the 1992 Dream Team. Jordan led that team to Olympic Gold in Barcelona. And many fans worldwide mention that event as the inspiration to play basketball. Jordan made the sports and the NBA attractive to many players around the world. Nowadays, you can find multiple European stars in the NBA. It is all thanks to MJ.
Medal of Freedom
In 2016, President Barack Obama honored Jordan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is an award by the President of the United States. Along with the comparable Congressional Gold Medal, it is the highest civilian award in the US.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom recognizes individuals who have made an “especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the US”.
Jordan accepted the Medal at the White House, along with Vin Scully, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and other American icons.
First Billionaire Athlete
Fun fact: Michael Jordan made only $90 million by playing in the NBA. But he earned a lot more money from endorsements and businesses. He is now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
On his 54th birthday, Jordan entered a rare air. He got the title “first billionaire athlete”. Widely considered the greatest basketball player ever, he owns an 89% stake of the Charlotte Hornets.
In 2013, he sold the Jordan brand to Nike for $2.25 billion.
As of 2021, MJ has a net worth of $1.6 billion. This makes him the richest retired athlete in the world.
Becoming an Internet Meme
Let’s finish the list of accomplishments by Michael Jordan with a fun one. In 2009, Jordan achieved an unusual and unconventional feat. He got a meme.
During his speech at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, photographer Stephan Savoia took a photo of Jordan crying.
In 2012, fans used that image without modification to comment on his decision to buy the Charlotte Bobcats. In 2014, his photoshopped head made it to posters on the internet message board Boxden.com.
Nowadays, Crying Jordan serves as one of the most popular memes in the sports world. In 2020, he again got a meme status. A screenshot from his Last Dance documentary “I took it Personal” turned into a meme as well.