Jordan, Michael (1963–)

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Michael Jordan (1963–)

Michael Jordan's celebrity has transcended the sport that he became famous for playing and in which he was so magically adept. Not only was he the most important basketball player of his era but he remains the most celebrated hoops star in history and one of the most famous athletes of all times. After attending the University of North Carolina, he starred for the Chicago Bulls from 1984 through 1999, leading them to six National Basketball Association (NBA; see entry under 1940s—Sports and Games in volume 3) championships and winning five Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards.

Jordan is fabled as much for his graceful leaping ability, all-around physical dexterity, sharpness and intelligence, and fierce desire to win as for any of his scoring titles or MVP trophies. Additionally, in an era in which athletes were becoming increasingly controversial in the public eye for their greed and uncouth behavior, Jordan has been a model of dignity.

Like Babe Ruth (1895–1948; see entry under 1910s—Sports and Games in volume 1) and Muhammad Ali (1942–; see entry under 1960s—Sports and Games in volume 4) before him, Jordan's fame has reached beyond the boundaries of athletics. Off the court, he has appeared in countless television (see entry under 1940s—TV and Radio in volume 3) ads and starred in a movie, Space Jam (1996), in which he cavorted with such beloved animated characters as Bugs Bunny (see entry under 1940s—TV and Radio in volume 3), Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig.

Jordan has retired twice from the NBA, only to return to the court each time. In 1993, he left basketball to try his hand at professional baseball (see entry under 1900s—Sports and Games in volume 1). His baseball career in the Chicago White Sox' minor league system was a flop; he returned to the Bulls in 1995. In 1999, he retired again. A year later, he became part owner of the Washington Wizards, then returned as a Wizards player for the 2001–2002 season. Player or not, Jordan remains a world-class figure, just as celebrated abroad as in his native country.

—Rob Edelman

For More Information

Aaseng, Nathan. Sports Great Michael Jordan. Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1997.

Jordan, Michael. For the Love of the Game: My Story. New York: Crown Publishers, 1998.

Jordan, Michael. I Can't Accept Not Trying: Michael Jordan on the Pursuit of Excellence. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1994.

Jordan, Michael. Rare Air: Michael on Michael. San Francisco: Collins Publishers, 1993.

Lipsyte, Robert. Michael Jordan: A Life Above the Rim. New York: HarperTrophy, 1994.

Michael Jordan: Official Website. (accessed April 4, 2002).

Space Jam (film). Warner Bros., 1996.

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Jordan, Michael (1963–)

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