Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials, MJ, is a retired professional basketball player. Jordan played 15 seasons in the NBA for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. His biography on the NBA website states: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time."
Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. He is currently the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA.
Jordan played three seasons for coach Dean Smith at the University of North Carolina. As a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels' national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the Bulls in 1984 as the third overall draft pick.
He quickly emerged as a league star, entertaining crowds with his prolific scoring. His leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free throw line in slam dunk contests, earned him the nicknames Air Jordan and His Airness. He also gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive players in basketball.
In 1991, he won his first NBA championship with the Bulls, and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993, securing a "three-peat". Although Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the beginning of the 1993–94 NBA season and started a new career playing minor league baseball, he returned to the Bulls in March 1995 and led them to three additional championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998, as well as a then-record 72 regular-season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season.
Jordan retired for a second time in January 1999, but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Wizards.
He left as a player to return to an ownership and executive role with the belief that with the cluster of young stars, the NBA was in fine shape. Above all, Jordan recognized his place in the game. In his book, "For The Love of The Game: My Story," Jordan wrote: "There is no such thing as a perfect basketball player, and I don't believe there is only one greatest player either.
Everyone plays in different eras. I built my talents on the shoulders of someone else's talent. I believe greatness is an evolutionary process that changes and evolves era to era. Without Julius Erving, David Thompson, Walter Davis, and Elgin Baylor there would never have been a Michael Jordan. I evolved from them."
Written by Robert Brus