most finals mvps
most scoring titles
only player with scoring title at the 2 to win def player of the year
made 50% of his shots
33.45 ppg in the playoffs an NBA record by far
30.12 ppg regular season NBA record
MJ hit a game winner as a collegiate player in a national title game, then he jumped into the pass lane forcing sleepy floyd to make a terrible pass to worthy.
12 assists per game in the 1991 finals
41 points per game in the 93 finals
had a season of 37ppg
had a season of 32.5ppg 8reb 8ast
had a season over 35ppg and over 53% shooting
Has the #1 rated hollinger game of all time
Holds 7 of the top 20 rated seasons in the history of the game
in comparison wilt holds 3
I could go on but really, we know who is best.
38 out of 39 of MJ's 50+ point games were over 50% shooting!
Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963) is a retired American professional basketball player. Widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, he became one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was instrumental in popularizing the NBA (National Basketball Association) around the world in the 1980s and 1990s.
After a standout career at the University of North Carolina, Jordan joined the NBA's Chicago Bulls in 1984. He quickly emerged as one of the stars of the league, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, illustrated by performing slam dunks from the foul line at Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames "Air Jordan" and "His Airness." He also gained a reputation as one of the best defensive players in basketball. In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Though Jordan abruptly left the NBA in October 1993 to pursue a career in baseball, he rejoined the Bulls in 1995 and led them to three additional championships (1996, 1997, and 1998). His 1995–96 Bulls team won an NBA record 72 regular season games. Jordan retired for a second time in 1999, but he returned for two more NBA seasons as a member of the Washington Wizards from 2001 to 2003.
Jordan's individual accolades and accomplishments include five NBA MVP (Most Valuable Player) awards, ten All-NBA First Team designations, nine All-Defensive First Team honors, fourteen NBA All-Star game appearances, ten scoring titles, three stealing titles, and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. He holds the NBA record for highest career regular season scoring average with 30.1 points per game, as well as averaging a record 33.4 points per game in the playoffs. In 1999, he was named the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN, and was second to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press's list of athletes of the century.
Jordan is also noted for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike's Air Jordan sneakers, which were introduced in 1985 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred in the 1996 feature film Space Jam. He is currently a part-owner and Managing Member of Basketball Operations of the Charlotte Bobcats, which reside in his home state of North Carolina.
May 26 -- The ability to come through in pressure packed situations is said to be what distinguishes a good player from a great one.
A gamer. A clutch performer. A hero. A legend. Whatever you call them, these players answer the call of duty when everything is on the line. And there is no place where more is on the line than in the NBA Playoffs.
Part I: Which of these performances is Michael Jordan's finest?
Game 2 of 1986 First Round
Game 5 of 1989 First Round
Game 2 of 1991 Finals
Game 1 of 1992 Finals
Game 4 of 1993 Finals
After featuring Reggie, Bird and Magic in this series, we now come to the man who has so many great performances in the postseason, that we're going to need to spilt the vote for his greatest playoff performance into two seperate features.
That's right. Michael Jordan gets two of these. This one for his playoff performances before his first retirement in 1993, the next one for his playoff performances between 1994 and his second retirement after the 1998 season. Take a look at MJ's first five great playoffs performances and then vote for the best.
Game 2 of 1986 First Round vs. Celtics
MJ goes for an NBA Playoffs record 63-points in double-OT loss at the Boston Garden. The most memorable clip from that game may be Jordan crossing-over Celtics legend Larry Bird in the right corner before pulling up for a jumper. Bird, for one, was impressed.
"I think it's just God disguised as Michael Jordan."
Need we say more?
Game 5 of the 1989 First Round vs. Cavaliers
Even stand-up comics didn't kill Cleveland like Jordan did. And it started here with this shot as the Bulls rolled into Cleveland. Down one point and with just over a tick left on the clock, Jordan squeaked free, rose over his foil, Craig Ehlo, shot and crushed Cavs fans everywhere as the Bulls escaped Cleveland and the first round with a 101-100 win.
Game 2 of the 1991 Finals vs. Lakers
The Bulls lost Game 1 of The 1991 Finals, at home no less, to the Lakers. But in Game 2, Jordan and the Bulls took over.
Jordan, known for his many amazing and seemingly super-human athletic feats pulled out all the stops on this move, where he drove through the lane with the ball in his right hand, switched in mid-air to his left and laid it home.
The move was perfectly punctuated by Marv Albert's play-by-play: "A spec-TAC-ular move by Jordan!"
Game 1 of 1992 Finals vs. Blazers
With one title under his belt, Jordan was back with the Bulls for a shot at title No. 2. Jordan, known more for his slashing style, stunned the Blazers, the basketball world and even himself with a barrage of three-pointers in the first half, a Finals record six.
Jordan was so surprised by his long-range accumen, he turned to the NBA broadcasters at courtside and shrugged his shoulders as if to say: "Who knew?" After that, we all did.
Game 4 of 1993 Finals vs. Suns
Jordan and the Bulls were going for their third title in a row, and after winning the first two games in Phoenix, it looked as if the Bulls would breeze their way to a series sweep.
But Phoenix had other ideas as they won a classic three-OT thriller in Game 3 at Chicago Stadium. Again, it was up to Jordan to put his stamp on the series as he hung 55 on the Suns in Game 4.
The Bulls would need all those points from Jordan, too, as they squeaked out a 111-105 win. Chicago would go on to win the series in six games.
During his first season in the NBA, Jordan averaged 28.2 points per game (ppg) on 51.5% shooting (field goal percentage). He quickly became a fan favorite even in opposing arenas, and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the heading "A Star is Born" just over a month into his pro career. Jordan was also voted in as an All-Star starter by the fans in his rookie season. Controversy arose before the All-Star game when word surfaced that several veteran players, led by Isiah Thomas, were upset by the amount of attention Jordan was receiving. This led to a so called "freeze-out" on Jordan, where players refused to pass him the ball throughout the game. The controversy left Jordan relatively unaffected when he returned to regular season play, and he would go on to be voted Rookie of the Year. On February 12, Jordan set the Bulls rookie record with 49 points against Isiah's Pistons. The Bulls finished the season 38-44, and lost in the first round of the playoffs in four games to the Milwaukee Bucks. Jordan finished the season as the team's leader in scoring, rebounding (6.5 rpg), assists (5.9 apg) and steals (196).
Jordan's second season was cut short by a broken foot which caused him to miss 64 games. Despite Jordan's injury and a 30–52 record, the Bulls made the playoffs. Jordan recovered in time to participate in the playoffs and performed well upon his return. Against a 1985–86 Boston Celtics team that is often considered one of the greatest in NBA history, Jordan set the still-unbroken record for points in a playoff game with 63 in game 2. The Celtics, however, managed to sweep the series.
Jordan recovered completely by the 1986-87 season, and had one of the most prolific scoring seasons in NBA history. He became the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to score 3,000 points in a season, averaging a league high 37.1 points on 48.2% shooting. Despite his scoring success, Magic Johnson won the league's Most Valuable Player Award. The Bulls reached 40 wins, and advanced to the playoffs for the third consecutive year. However, they were again swept by the Celtics.
Mid-career: Pistons roadblock
Jordan led the league in scoring again in the 1987–88 season, averaging 35.0 ppg on 53.5% shooting, and won his first league MVP award. He was also named the Defensive Player of the Year, a rarity for a guard, as he averaged 1.6 blocks and a league high 3.16 steals per game. The Bulls finished 50–32, and made it out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in Jordan's career, as they defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. However, the Bulls then lost in five games to the more experienced Detroit Pistons, who were led by Isiah Thomas and a group of physical big men known as the "Bad Boys".
In the 1988-89 season, Jordan again led the league in scoring, averaging 32.5 ppg on 53.8% shooting from the field. The Bulls finished with a 47–35 record, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, defeating the Knicks and Cavaliers along the way. The Cavaliers series included a career highlight for Jordan when he hit a series winning shot over Craig Ehlo in the closing moments of the fifth and deciding game of the series. However, the Pistons again defeated the Bulls, this time in six games, by utilizing their "Jordan Rules" method of guarding Jordan, which consisted of double and triple teaming him every time he touched the ball.
The Bulls entered the 1989-90 season as a team on the rise. With their core group of Jordan and young improving players like Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, they were becoming a more cohesive team under the guidance of new coach Phil Jackson. Jordan averaged a league leading 33.6 ppg on 52.6% shooting, and led the Bulls to a 55–27 record. They again advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals beating the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers en route. However, despite pushing the series to seven games, the Bulls lost to the Pistons for the third consecutive season.
In the 1990–91 season, Jordan won his second MVP award after averaging 31.5 ppg, 6.0 rebounds per game (rpg), and 5.5 assists per game (apg) for the regular season. The Bulls finished in first place for the first time in 16 years and set a franchise record with 61 wins in the regular season. With Scottie Pippen developing into an All-Star, the Bulls elevated their play to another level. The Bulls defeated the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening two rounds of the playoffs. They advanced to Eastern Conference Finals where their rival, the Detroit Pistons, awaited them. However, this time when the Pistons employed their "Jordan Rules" defense of doubling and triple teaming Jordan, he picked them apart with passing. Finally, the Bulls beat the Detroit Pistons in a surprising sweep.In an unusual ending to the fourth and final game, Isaiah Thomas led the Pistons off the court when there was still time remaining on the clock, choosing to forfeit the game instead of shaking hands with the Bulls.
Jordan at the beginning of his layup versus the Lakers in game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals.The Bulls advanced to the NBA Finals where they beat Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers four games to one. The Bulls compiled an outstanding 15–2 record during the playoffs. Perhaps the best known moment of the series came in Game 2 when, attempting a dunk, Jordan avoided a potential Sam Perkins block by switching the ball from his right hand to his left in mid-air to lay the shot in. Jordan won his first NBA Finals MVP award unanimously, and cried while holding the NBA Finals trophy.
Jordan and the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season, establishing a 67–15 record, the best in franchise history. Jordan won his second consecutive MVP award with a 30.1/6.4/6.1 season. After winning a physical 7-game series over the burgeoning New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs and finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals in 6 games, the Bulls met Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals. The media, hoping to recreate a Magic-Bird rivalry, highlighted the similarities between "Air" Jordan and Clyde "The Glide" during the pre-Finals hype. In the first game of the Finals, Jordan scored a Finals record 35 points in the first half, including a record matching six three-point field goals. After the sixth three-pointer, he jogged down the court shrugging as he looked courtside. Marv Albert, who broadcast the game, later stated that it was as if Jordan was saying, "I can't believe I'm doing this." The Bulls went on to win game one, and defeat the Blazers in six games. Jordan was named Finals MVP for the second year in a row and finished the series averaging 35.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 6.5 apg, while shooting 53% from the floor. Drexler finished with averages of 24.8 ppg, 7.5 rpg, and 5.3 apg, but only shot 41% from the floor.
In 1992–93, despite a 32.6/6.7/5.5 campaign, Jordan's streak of consecutive MVP seasons ended as he lost the award to his friend Charles Barkley. Fittingly, Jordan and the Bulls met Barkley and his Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals. The Bulls captured their third consecutive NBA championship on a game-winning shot by John Paxson and a last-second block by Horace Grant, but Jordan was once again Chicago's catalyst. He averaged a Finals-record 41.0 ppg during the six-game series, and became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Finals MVP awards. With his third Finals triumph, Jordan capped off a seven-year run where he attained seven scoring titles and three championships, but there were signs that Jordan was tiring of his massive celebrity and all of the non-basketball hassles in his life.
On October 6, 1993, Jordan announced his retirement, citing a loss in his desire to play the game. Jordan later stated that the murder of his father earlier in the year shaped his decision. James R. Jordan, Sr. was murdered on July 23, 1993, at a highway rest area in Lumberton, North Carolina, by two teenagers, Daniel Green and Larry Martin Demery. The assailants were traced from calls they made on James Jordan's cellular phone, caught, convicted and sentenced to life in prison. Jordan was close to his father; as a child he had imitated his father's proclivity to stick out his tongue while absorbed in work. He later adopted it as his own signature, displaying it each time he drove to the basket. In 1996 he founded a Chicago area Boys & Girls Club and dedicated it to his father.
Jordan during his brief baseball career.Those close to Jordan claimed that he had been considering retirement as early as the summer of 1992, and that the added exhaustion due to the Dream Team run in the 1992 Olympics solidified Jordan's burned-out feelings about the game and his ever-growing celebrity status. Jordan's announcement sent shock waves throughout the NBA and appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world.
Jordan then further surprised the sports world by signing a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox. He reported to spring training and was assigned to the team's minor league system on March 31, 1994. Jordan has stated this decision was made to pursue the dream of his late father, who had always envisioned his son as a major league baseball player. The White Sox were another team owned by Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, who continued to honor Jordan's basketball contract during the years he played baseball. He had an unspectacular professional baseball career for the Birmingham Barons, a Chicago White Sox farm team, batting .202 with 3 HR, 51 RBI, 30 SB, and 11 errors. He also appeared for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 Arizona Fall League.
"I'm back": return to the NBA
In the 1993–94 season, the Jordan-less Bulls notched a 55–27 record, and lost to the Knicks in the second round of the playoffs. But the 1994–95 version of the Bulls was a shell of the championship squad of just two years earlier. Struggling at mid-season to ensure a spot in the playoffs, Chicago needed a lift. The lift came in early 1995, when Jordan decided to return to the NBA for the Bulls.
On March 18, 1995, Jordan announced his return to the NBA through a two-word press release: "I'm back." The next day, Jordan donned jersey number 45 (his number with the Barons), as his familiar 23 had been retired in his honor following his first retirement. He took the court with the Bulls to face the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, scoring 19 points in a Bulls loss.
Although Jordan had not played in an NBA game in a year and a half, he played well upon his return, which included a game-winning jump shot (against Atlanta in his fourth game back), and a 55-point game against the Knicks on March 29, 1995. The Bulls made the playoffs and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semi-finals against the Orlando Magic. At the end of the first game of the series, Orlando's Nick Anderson commented that "[h]e didn't look like the old Michael Jordan," after which Jordan returned to wearing his old number (23). Jordan averaged 31.5 points per game in that series, but Orlando prevailed in six games.
Freshly motivated by the playoff defeat, Jordan trained aggressively for the 1995–96 season. Strengthened by the addition of rebounder specialist Dennis Rodman, the Bulls dominated the league, starting the season 41–3, and eventually finishing with the best regular season record in NBA history of 72–10. Jordan led the league in scoring with 30.4 ppg, and won the league's regular season and All-Star Game MVP awards. In the playoffs, the Bulls lost only three games in four series, defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA Finals to win the championship. Jordan was named Finals MVP for a record fourth time, surpassing Magic Johnson's three Finals MVP awards. He also became only the second player (after Willis Reed in the 1969-70 NBA season) to sweep the MVP Awards in the All-Star Game, regular season and NBA Finals.
In the 1996–97 season the Bulls started out 69–11, but narrowly missed out on a second consecutive 70 win season by losing their final two games to finish 69–13. However, this year Jordan was bested by Karl Malone for the NBA MVP Award. The team again advanced to the Finals, where they faced Malone and the Utah Jazz. The series against the Jazz featured two of the more memorable clutch moments of Jordan's career. He won Game 1 for the Bulls with a buzzer-beating jump shot. In Game 5, with the series tied 2–2, Jordan played despite being feverish and dehydrated from a stomach virus. In what is known as the "flu game", Jordan scored 38 points including the game-deciding three-pointer with less than a minute remaining. The Bulls won 90-88 and went on to win the series in six games. For the fifth time in as many Finals appearances, Jordan received the Finals MVP award.
Jordan and the Bulls compiled a 62–20 record in the 1997–98 season. Jordan led the league with 28.7 points per game, securing his fifth regular-season MVP award, plus honors for All-NBA First Team, First Defensive Team and the All-Star Game MVP. The Bulls captured the Eastern Conference Championship for a third straight season and moved on to once again face the Jazz in the Finals.
Jordan taking the series winning shot over Bryon Russell in the 1998 NBA Finals.The Bulls returned to Utah for game 6 on June 14, 1998 leading the series 3-2. In Game 6, Jordan executed a series of plays, considered to be one of the greatest clutch performances in NBA Finals history. With the Bulls trailing 86-83 with 40 seconds remaining, coach Jackson called a timeout. Jordan received the inbounds pass, drove to the basket, and hit a layup over several Jazz defenders. The Jazz brought the ball upcourt and passed the ball to forward Karl Malone, who was set up in the low post and was being guarded by Rodman. Malone jostled with Rodman and caught the pass, but Jordan cut behind him and swatted the ball out of his hands for a steal. Jordan then slowly dribbled upcourt and paused at the top of the key, eying his defender, Jazz guard Bryon Russell. With fewer than 10 seconds remaining, Jordan started to dribble right, then crossed over to his left, possibly pushing off Russell, although the officials did not call a foul. Jordan then released a shot that would be rebroadcast innumerable times in years to come. As the shot found the net, announcer Bob Costas shouted "Chicago with the lead!" After a desperation three-point shot by John Stockton missed, Jordan and the Bulls claimed their sixth NBA championship, and secured a second three-peat. Once again, Jordan was voted the Finals' MVP, having led all scorers by averaging more than 30 points per game, including 45 in the deciding Game 6. Jordan's six Finals MVPs is a record; Shaquille O'Neal, Magic Johnson, and Tim Duncan are tied for second place with three apiece.
Jordan's Game 6 performance seemed to be a perfect ending to his career. With Phil Jackson's contract expiring, the pending departures of Scottie Pippen (who stated his desire to be traded during the season) and Dennis Rodman (who would sign with the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent) looming, and being in the latter stages of an owner-induced lockout of NBA players, Jordan retired for the second time on January 13, 1999.
On January 19, 2000, Jordan returned to the NBA not as a player, but as part owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards. His responsibilities with the club were to be comprehensive, as he was in charge of all aspects of the team, including personnel decisions. Opinions of Jordan as a basketball executive were mixed. He managed to purge the team of several highly-paid, unpopular players (such as forward Juwan Howard and point guard Rod Strickland), but many feel his lasting legacy as GM of the Wizards will be his selection of high school prospect Kwame Brown with the first pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, a player who has not lived up to expectations.
Despite his January 1999 claim that he was "99.9% certain" that he would never play another NBA game, in summer of 2001 Jordan expressed interest in making another comeback, this time with his new team. Inspired by the comeback of NHL star (and Jordan's friend) Mario Lemieux the previous winter, Jordan spent much of the spring and summer of 2001 in training, holding several invitation-only camps for NBA players in Chicago. In addition, Jordan hired his old Chicago Bulls head coach, Doug Collins, as Washington's coach for the upcoming season, a decision that many saw as foreshadowing another Jordan return.
Washington Wizards comeback
On September 25, 2001 Jordan announced his return to professional play with the Wizards, indicating his intention to donate his salary as a player to a relief effort for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. In an injury-plagued 2001–02 season, he led the team in scoring (22.9 ppg), assists (5.2 apg), and steals (1.42 spg). However, injuries ended Jordan's season after only 60 games, the fewest he had played in a regular season since a broken foot cut short his season in 1985–86.
Playing in his 14th and final NBA All-Star Game in 2003, Jordan passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in All-Star game history. That year, Jordan was the only Washington player to play in all 82 games, starting in 67 of them. He averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. He also shot 45% from the field, and 82% from the free throw line. Even though he turned 40 during the season, he scored 20 or more points 42 times, 30 or more points nine times, and 40 or more points three times. On February 21, 2003, Jordan became the first 40-year-old to tally 40 points in an NBA game. During his stint with the Wizards, all Jordan home games at the MCI Center and nearly all his road games, were sold out and Wizards were the most-watched team in the NBA, averaging 20,173 fans a game at home and 19,311 on the road. However, neither of Jordan's final two seasons resulted in a playoff appearance for the Wizards, and Jordan was often unsatisfied with the play of those around him. At several points he openly criticized his teammates to the media, citing their lack of focus and intensity.
With the recognition that 2002-03 would be Jordan's final season, tributes were paid to him in nearly every arena in the NBA. In his final game at his old home court, the United Center in Chicago, Jordan received a prolonged standing ovation. The Miami Heat retired the #23 jersey on April 11, 2003, even though he never played for the team. At the 2003 All-Star Game, Vince Carter gave up his starting spot at shooting guard to Jordan, and the halftime ceremony was dedicated to Jordan's career. Jordan's final NBA game was on April 16, 2003 in Philadelphia. Having sat out for much of the fourth quarter, Jordan re-entered the game in the final minutes, after the Philadelphia crowd started chanting "We want Mike!" with 1:44 remaining. Jordan sank his last two free throws, and then exited to a standing ovation.
Olympic medal record
Gold 1984 Los Angeles Team
Gold 1992 Barcelona Team
Jordan played on two Olympic gold medal-winning American basketball teams. As a college player he participated, and won the gold, in the 1984 Summer Olympics. Jordan led the team in scoring averaging 17.1 ppg for the tournament. In the 1992 Summer Olympics he was a member of the star-studded squad that included Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, and David Robinson and was dubbed the "Dream Team". Playing limited minutes due to the frequent blowouts, Jordan averaged 12.7 ppg, finishing fourth on the team in scoring. The team cruised to the gold medal, restoring America to the top of the basketball world. Jordan, Ewing and fellow Dream Team member Chris Mullin are the only American men's basketball players to win Olympic gold as amateurs (all in 1984) and professionals.
After retiring as a player
Jordan on the golf course in 2007.After his third retirement, Jordan assumed that he would be able to return to his front office position of Director of Basketball Operations with the Wizards. However, his previous tenure in the Wizards' front office had produced the aforementioned mixed results and may have also influenced the trade of Richard "Rip" Hamilton for Jerry Stackhouse (although Jordan was not technically Director of Basketball Operations in 2002). On May 7, 2003, Wizards owner Abe Pollin fired Jordan as Washington's president of basketball operations. Jordan later stated that he felt betrayed by the situation, and that if he knew he would be fired upon retiring he never would have come back to play for the Wizards.
Jordan kept busy over the next few years by staying in shape, playing golf in celebrity charity tournaments, spending time with his family in Chicago, promoting his Jordan Brand clothing line, and riding motorcycles. Since 2004, Jordan has owned a professional closed-course motorcycle roadracing team that competes in the premier Superbike class sanctioned by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA). On June 15, 2006, Jordan became a part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and was named "Managing Member of Basketball Operations." He is the largest individual owner of the team after majority owner Robert L. Johnson. Despite Jordan's previous success as an endorser, he has made a conscious effort not to be included in the teams' marketing campaigns while with Charlotte.
Jordan was a shooting guard who was also capable of playing small forward. Jordan was known throughout his career for being a clutch performer. He decided numerous games with last-second plays (e.g., The Shot) and performed well under adverse circumstances (e.g., Flu Game). His competitiveness was visible in his prolific trash-talk and solid work ethic.
Jordan featured a versatile offensive game. He was capable of aggressively slashing to the basket and drawing fouls from his opponents at a high rate; his 8,772 free throw attempts are ninth all time. Jordan could also post up his opponents and score with his trademark fadeaway jumpshot, using his leaping ability to "fade away" from block attempts. According to Hubie Brown, this move alone made him nearly unstoppable. Jordan's 5.2 assists per game indicate his willingness to defer to his teammates. In later years, he extended his shooting range to become a three-point threat, rising from a low 9 / 52 rate (.173) in his rookie year into a stellar 111 / 260 (.427) shooter in the 1995–96 season.Jordan was also a good rebounder (6.2 per game) for a guard.
On defense, Jordan's contributions were equally impressive. His 2,514 steals are second all-time behind John Stockton. In addition he set records for blocked shots by a guard, and combined this with his ball-thieving ability to become a standout defensive player. Jerry West often stated that he was more impressed with Jordan's defensive contributions than his offensive ones.
Jordan going in for a slam dunk with his signature exposed tongue."By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time."
—introductory line of Jordan's nba.com/history biography
"There's Michael Jordan and then there is the rest of us."
Michael Jordan's basketball talent was clear from his rookie season. In his first game in Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, Jordan received a prolonged standing ovation, a rarity for a player in an opposing team's arena. After Jordan scored a playoff record 63 points against the Boston Celtics in 1986, Celtics star Larry Bird described him as "God disguised as Michael Jordan."
Jordan led the NBA in scoring in 10 seasons (NBA record) and tied Wilt Chamberlain's record of seven consecutive scoring titles. He was also a fixture on the NBA All-Defensive Team, making the roster nine times. Jordan also holds the top career and playoff scoring averages of 30.1 and 33.4 points per game, respectively. By 1998, the season of his Finals-winning shot against the Jazz, he was well known throughout the league as a clutch performer. In the regular season, Jordan was the Bulls' primary threat in the final seconds of a close game and in the playoffs, Jordan would always demand the ball at crunch time. Jordan's total of 5,987 points in the playoffs is the highest in NBA history. He retired with 32,292 points, placing him third on the NBA's all-time scoring list behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
With five regular-season MVPs, six Finals MVPs, and three All-Star MVPs, Jordan is the most decorated player ever to play in the NBA. Jordan finished among the top three in regular-season MVP voting a record 10 times, and was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996.
Many of Jordan's contemporaries label Jordan as the greatest men's professional basketball player of all time. An ESPN survey of journalists, athletes and other sports figures ranked Jordan the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century, above icons such as Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali. Jordan placed second to Babe Ruth in the Associated Press's list of 20th century athletes.Jordan has also appeared on the front cover of Sports Illustrated a record 49 times.
Jordan's athletic leaping ability, highlighted in his back-to-back slam dunk contest championships in 1987 and 1988, is credited by many with having influenced a generation of young players. Several current NBA All-Stars have stated that they considered Jordan their role model while growing up, including LeBron James, and Dwyane Wade. In addition, commentators have dubbed a number of next-generation players "the next Michael Jordan" upon their entry to the NBA, including Grant Hill, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Vince Carter, and Dwyane Wade. Although Jordan was a well-rounded player, his "Air Jordan" image is also often credited with inadvertently decreasing the jump shooting skills, defense, and fundamentals of young players. A fact which Jordan himself has lamented in the past, "I think it was the exposure of Michael Jordan; the marketing of Michael Jordan. Everything was marketed towards the things that people wanted to see, which was scoring and dunking. That Michael Jordan still played defense and an all-around game, but it was never really publicized." Although Jordan has done much to increase the status of the game, some of his impact on the game's popularity in America appears to be fleeting. Television ratings in particular increased only during his time in the league and have subsequently lowered each time he left the game.
“There are plenty of teams in every sport that have great players and
never win titles. Most of the time, those players aren't willing to
sacrifice for the greater good of the team. The funny thing is, in
the end, their unwillingness to sacrifice only makes individual
goals more difficult to achieve. One thing I believe to the fullest
is that if you think and achieve as a team, the individual accolades
will take care of themselves. Talent wins games, but teamwork and
intelligence win championships.” -Michael Jordan
“There is no "i" in team but there is in win” - Michael Jordan
"If Jordan didnt retire he would have won 12 championships and beat Kareem by at least 5,000 points. Jordan screwed himself by retiring as many times as he did, but I really dont think he cares..." -Jay Mariotti