February 17th marks Michael Jordan’s birthday. Here are 17 milestones in the life of the basketball legend, the GOAT.
1 — Air Jordan 1
The sneaker that his Airness first wore on the court in 1985 remains an iconic model even till today, with the black-red “Banned” colorway creating a legacy that many sneaker heads still go crazy over.
2 — Olympic medals
Michael Jordan took home two gold medals for men’s basketball – one each at the 1984 and 1992 Olympic Games. In fact, he was part of the 1992 “Dream Team” that had Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen as part of the roster.
3 — Baseball home-runs
After his first retirement in 1993, MJ took to baseball and played for the Chicago White Sox. His short tenure with the sport, largely overshadowed by his return to his basketball roots later on, would produce three home runs.
4 — 60+ Point Games
Counting only the regular season, there were four instances of MJ scoring over 60 points in a single game.
5 — Most Valuable Player awards
Bestowed only on the best performing player of the season, MJ found himself winning the award five times; only one less than current record-holder Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
6 — NBA champions
Together with his impressive teammates at Chicago Bulls, MJ secured the NBA title a total of six times.
7 — NBA scoring champion (consecutive seasons)
From 1987 to 1993, MJ outshone all other NBA players with at least 30 points per game each season. This came to an end upon his first retirement to play baseball.
8 — North Carolina Tar Heels
Before embarking on his professional career, MJ played for the North Carolina Tar Heels, a university-level team. In the 1982-1983 season, he led the team to the Elite Eight, before they crashed out following a loss to Georgia’s basketball team.
9 — NBA All-Defensive
A title give to the best defensive players throughout the regular season, MJ’s name appeared nine times, proving that the ability to score wasn’t his only talent.
10 — NBA scoring champion (overall)
Upon his return from baseball, MJ would lead the league in scoring for three seasons — 1995 to 1998. Adding this to his seven seasons’ worth of leading the league puts MJ at the top of the chart for overall NBA scoring champion.
11 — All-NBA Team selection
Voted by a panel of sports writers and broadcasters, the All-NBA Team is an honor given to the best players in the league each season. MJ found his way to the list 11 times.
12 — A forgotten jersey number
The number “23” is synonymous with MJ, but an incident led to him wearing the number “12” for one single game. Prior to the match between Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic in 1990, someone took off with MJ’s jersey that was in the Bulls’ locker room. An extra uniform was salvaged and given to MJ; the jersey bore no name and had the number “12” on its back.
13 — Second retirement
January 13th, 1999, marked the second time MJ took a backseat from the game.
14 — NBA All-Stars
The NBA All-Star Game is an annual exhibition match where the players are picked by fans and NBA head coaches. Jordan made it to the list 14 times.
15 — NBA seasons played
Despite the retirements in-between, MJ’s basketball career spanned 15 seasons; 13 with Chicago Bulls and two with Washington Wizards.
16 — Swansong
April 16th, 2003, marked Jordan’s last game, and the most memorable player ever seen in basketball received a three-minute standing ovation from his teammates, opponents and the crowd, for all his years of contribution to the sport.
17 — Happy birthday MJ
Michael Jordan turns 53 on February 17th. All hail the king!