Jordan, Michael Jeffrey

Jordan, Michael Jeffrey, 1963–, American basketball player, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. As a freshman at the Univ. of North Carolina, he made the shot that won the 1982 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament final over Georgetown. Joining the Chicago Bulls of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1984, he was the 1985 Rookie of the Year and developed into the outstanding guard of the late 1980s and the 1990s. From 1991 to 1993, Jordan led the Bulls to three NBA championships. In 1993 he announced his retirement, saying he had achieved all his goals in basketball, and began a second career as a baseball player. After two unspectacular years in the minor-league system of the Chicago White Sox, however, he returned to the NBA early in 1995, and in 1996–98 he led the Bulls to three more championships. In 1999 he retired again. The following year he became a part owner of the NBA's Washington Wizards, but in 2001 sold his share of the team and signed with the Wizards and played for two seasons.

Noted especially for his leaping ability, the 6-ft 6-in. (198-cm) Jordan is widely considered the greatest basketball player ever. The NBA career leader in scoring average, he was the league's leading scorer each year from 1986 to 1993 and 1996 to 1998, for a record ten titles, and is third on the all-time points list. Jordan also starred for the 1984 and 1992 gold-medal-winning U.S. Olympic teams. Known as “Air Jordan” and “His Airness,” he popularized basketball around the world; for a time he was probably the world's most famous person. His commercial endorsements and investments have made him one of the world's wealthiest athletes. In 2010 he became the majority owner of the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats; he first invested in the team in 2006. Jordan became a co-owner of a NASCAR racing team in 2020.

See biography by R. Lazenby (2014); D. Halberstam, Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World He Made (1999).

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