Michael Jordan Biography, Career, Awards, Businesses, Charity, Wives, Children, Net Worth

Michael Jordan is a former professional basketball player, Olympic athlete from the United States, businessman, and actor. He was regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, dominating the sport from the mid-1980s until the late 1990s.

Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles and five MVP awards during his career. Jordan became the most decorated player in NBA history, with five regular-season MVPs and three All-Star MVPs.

Early Life

Michael Jeffrey Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 17, 1963. His mother, Deloris, was a bank cashier who later became a published author. His father, James, worked as a maintenance worker before becoming a manager at General Electric. Jordan, Deloris and James’s fourth child, has four siblings: James Jr. (nicknamed Ronnie), Deloris, Larry, and Roslyn.

Jordan developed a competitive edge at a young age while growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina. James was the one who introduced baseball to his son Michael and built a basketball court in their backyard. Michael looked up to his older brother Larry, and the two would frequently play one-on-one late into the night. Michael was determined to win every game he participated in.

Jordan graduated from Laney High School in Wilmington. As a sophomore, he was assigned to the school’s junior varsity basketball team—he was still under 6 feet tall at the time—before growing into one of the country’s top recruiters.

Jordan drew the attention of famed University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill head coach Dean Smith and his crew during a basketball camp in the summer of 1980. In 1981, he signed a letter of intent with the institution.

College Career

Jordan enrolled to North Carolina in 1981 and quickly rose to prominence on the basketball team. Jordan scored the game-winning basket in the NCAA Division I championship game against Georgetown University in 1982. He was also named NCAA College Player of the Year in 1983 and 1984.

In 1984, Jordan left college following his junior year to join the NBA. Jordan completed his bachelor’s degree in geography while continuing to play professional basketball in 1986.

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Professional Basketball Career

The 6-foot-6 manJordan’s professional basketball career began in 1984, when he was picked by the Chicago Bulls. He was selected third overall, trailing Hakeem Olajuwon, who was chosen first by the Houston Rockets, and Sam Bowie, who was chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers; the draft also included famous players John Stockton and Charles Barkley.

Jordan quickly established himself on the court. He helped the Bulls make the playoffs that season, averaging 28.2 points per game. Jordan was named NBA Rookie of the Year and was selected for the All-Star Game as a result of his accomplishments.

Despite an injury-plagued second season, he broke new territory on the court during the 1986-87 season. He became the first player after Wilt Chamberlain in history to score over 3,000 points in a single season. By the late 1980s, the Chicago Bulls were quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and Jordan played a key role in their success.

In 1990, the Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals and won their first NBA title the following year, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. Jordan was already well-known for his excellent athleticism on the court as well as his leadership ability.

The Chicago Bulls won their second NBA title in 1992, defeating the Portland Trail Blazers. The next year, the team won their third championship, dominating the basketball globe.

Jordan returned to the basketball court and the Bulls in March 1995, following the death of his father in 1993 and a brief sojourn in minor league baseball. He bounced back even stronger the next season, scoring 30.4 points per game as he led the Bulls to a then-record 72 regular-season wins before defeating the Seattle SuperSonics in the NBA finals.

With 69 wins in 1996-97, Chicago nearly matched the previous year’s record, which finished with a Game 6 victory over the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals. In 1998, the two teams met again for the championship, with Jordan sinking the game-winning shot in Game 6 to clinch his sixth and final title. Jordan also won each of his five league MVP honors while with the Chicago Bulls.

Jordan joined the Washington Wizards as a part owner and head of basketball operations in 2000, following his second retirement from basketball in 1999. Jordan left these positions in the fall of 2001 to return to the court. He spent his final two NBA seasons with the Wizards.

Jersey Numbers

Jordan is best known for wearing No. 23 for the majority of his career. He once stated that the number was a nod to his older brother Larry, as it was nearly half of Larry’s high school number 45.

Jordan wore 45 when he returned to the NBA in 1995 because 23 was the number his late father remembered him by, and he wanted a fresh start. Jordan moved back to 23 for the 1995 playoffs after only a few months.

Jordan famously wore No. 12 for one game on February 14, 1990, due to the theft of his jersey. The Bulls didn’t have a backup and tried unsuccessfully to find a 23 jersey in the stands that would suit Jordan. Jordan’s performance was unaffected by the temporary alteration, as he scored 49 points in a loss against the Orlando Magic.


Jordan made his Olympic debut as a member of the United States Olympic basketball squad in the summer of 1984. The gold medal was won by a team of collegiate amateurs at the Los Angeles games that year.

Jordan later helped the United States win the gold medal at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. For the first time that year, the United States team had professional players such as Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and was dubbed the “Dream Team.”

Awards and Honors

Jordan got his first NBA MVP Award in 1988, an award he would receive four more times, in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998.

Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in April 2009, one of basketball’s highest awards. Jordan’s attendance at the induction ceremony was bittersweet since it signified “your basketball career is completely over,” he remarked.

Former President Barack Obama awarded Jordan the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Retirements from Basketball

Jordan left the sport three times throughout his 19-year professional career. Following the loss of his father, he took his first step away on October 6, 1993, at the age of 30 to seek a career in baseball. James was murdered in July of that year when two teens shot him in his car during an apparent robbery when he was driving from Charlotte to Wilmington, North Carolina.

He had been gone for 23 days until his body was discovered in a swamp in McColl, South Carolina. The teens were ultimately tried and convicted of the crime, and they were sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder.

Jordan left the Bulls again on January 13, 1999, at the age of 35, before returning to the floor with the Wizards. On April 16, 2003, at the age of 40, he hung up his jersey for good.


Jordan announced his retirement from basketball to pursue baseball after the end of the 1992-93 basketball season, shocking many. Jordan was an outfielder for the Birmingham Barons, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, for one year in 1994.

Jordan made this decision immediately after the assassination of his father, who had always encouraged him to play baseball. He had last played baseball as a senior in high school in 1981.

“You tell me I can’t do something, and I’m going to do it,” Jordan said.

Jordan had a relatively disappointing baseball career, which many fans saw as a whim.Batting average of 202. However, several of his coworkers at the time described him as a dedicated player with great promise.

“He had it all: ability, aptitude, work ethic. He was always so respectful of what we were doing and considerate of his teammates. Granted, he had a lot to learn,” former Barons manager Terry Francona said. “I do think with another 1,000 at-bats, he would’ve made it. But there’s something else that people miss about that season. Baseball wasn’t the only thing he picked up. I truly believe that he rediscovered himself, his joy for competition. We made him want to play basketball again.”

Jordan played with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League after finishing his season with the Barons. After hitting.252 and being dubbed the team’s “worst player,” he announced his comeback to the NBA in March 1995 with a two-word press release: “I’m back.”

Jordan’s Business Ventures

Jordan has been involved in a variety of profitable business and commercial enterprises outside of his basketball career, including a long-term connection with Nike. Jordan’s initial contract with Nike was inked in 1984. In 1985, the business released its iconic Air Jordan basketball sneakers. Nike granted Jordan a substantial 25% royalty cut in his inaugural contract.

The Air Jordan rapidly became popular, and it is still a best-seller for the apparel company more than 30 years later. Nike and Jordan profit from the cooperation, with Nike reporting approximately $2.9 billion in revenue for the Air Jordan line in 2018.

Air, a 2023 biographical movie starring Ben Affleck as Nike founder Phil Knight and Matt Damon as marketing executive Sonny Vaccaro, is based on Jordan’s association with Nike.

Jordan has also inked endorsement deals with Hanes, Upper Deck, Gatorade, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, and Wheaties over the years. The Gatorade collaboration included a notable advertising campaign encouraging youngsters and adults to “Be Like Mike.”

Jordan began his restaurant career in 1998 as the proprietor of Michael Jordan’s The Steak House N.Y.C. This conventional steakhouse sat 150 and 60 at the bar, encompassing 7,000 square feet in Grand Central Terminal until closing in late 2018. It was designed to match Jordan’s interests and aesthetic.

Michael Jordan’s Steak House has four sites as of April 2023: Chicago, Oak Brook, Illinois, the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Connecticut, and the Ilani Casino in Ridgefield, Washington.

READ ALSO: How Michael Jordan Nearly Missed Out On The Nike Air Jordan Deal That Made Him Millionaire

Part Owner of the Charlotte Hornets

Jordan purchased a stake in the Charlotte Hornets (then known as the Bobcats) in 2006 and became the team’s managing member of basketball operations. He became the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets in 2010 and currently serves as the team’s chairman.

Jordan’s emphasis seemed to be improving the team’s less-than-stellar record. He told ESPN in November 2012: “I don’t anticipate getting out of this business. My competitive nature is I want to succeed. It’s always been said that when I can’t find a way to do anything, I will find a way to do it.” While the Hornets’ on-court record wasn’t hugely successful—they failed to make the playoffs six straight seasons from 2016 through 2022—the organization grew from a $175 million valuation in 2006 to $1.7 billion by October 2022.

HowAfrica reported in June 2023 that Jordan was in talks to sell his majority share in the team to a group formed by two NBA minority owners. Jordan completed the sale five months later, on August 3, to a group that included the team’s minority owner, Gabe Plotkin, as well as music musicians J. Cole and Eric Church. Jordan retained a minority investment in the team.

Jordan’s NASCAR Team

Jordan formed the 23XI Racing squad in 2020 with NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin. The name is a play on Jordan’s basketball number and Hamlin’s race car number.

Jordan is a lifelong NASCAR enthusiast who grew up watching the likes of Richard Petty, Cale Yarborough, and Dale Earnhardt. Before the NASCAR deal, Hamlin was a Jordan brand athlete and Charlotte Hornets fan, thus the two were buddies.

Bubba Wallace drove the No. 23 vehicle in the 2021 Daytona 500 for the team’s debut. Later that season, on October 4, at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, Wallace won the team’s first NASCAR Cup race.

For the 2022 season, the team expanded to two cars, with former champion Kurt Busch driving the No. 45 vehicle. That year, Busch and Wallace each won a race at Kansas Speedway. Tyler Reddick took over the 45 for the 2023 season and soon won the fourth race at Circuit of the Americas.


From 2001 through 2014, Jordan organized the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, an annual charity golf event with earnings supporting causes including as Make-A-Wish, Cats Care, the James R. Jordan Foundation, Keep Memory Alive, and Opportunity Village.

Celebrities such as Wayne Gretzky, Michael Phelps, Chevy Chase, Samuel L. Jackson, and Mark Wahlberg attended the four-day event and celebration.

In anticipation of his 60th birthday in 2023, Jordan gave the largest individual donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation in its history: $10 million.

Wives and Children

Jordan married Juanita Vanoy in 1989. Jeffrey, Marcus, and Jasmine were the couple’s three children. They divorced in December 2006, after 17 years of marriage.

Jordan married 35-year-old Cuban American model Yvette Prieto in Palm Beach, Florida on April 27, 2013. Tiger Woods, Spike Lee, and Patrick Ewing, among others, are said to have attended the wedding ceremony. Victoria and Ysabel, the couple’s twin daughters, were born in February 2014.

Jeffrey and Marcus Jordan, Jordan and Juanita’s two sons, both played basketball in college and aspired to play in the NBA.

In 2007, Jeffrey joined the University of Illinois basketball team. Jordan and his ex-wife, Juanita, both supported their kid and attempted to help him cope with the pressures of playing in the shadow of an NBA star. “The thing that we have tried to tell Jeff is that you set your own expectations. By no means in this world can you ever live up to someone else’s expectations of who you are,” Jordan said during an appearance on the Today show.

Jeffrey spent three seasons at the University of Illinois, from 2007 to 2010. He then played one season for the University of South Florida from 2011 to 2012 before retiring from basketball. He later enrolled in Nike’s management training program.

Marcus Jordan, Jordan’s youngest son, played basketball for the UCF Knights from 2009 to 2012. He later opened a basketball shoe and gear shop in Florida. “They wanted to be like their dad. What boy doesn’t? But they both got to a point where they said, ‘We’re not going to the NBA,’” Juanita said in 2013.

Net Worth

Jordan’s net worth was estimated by Forbes to be $2 billion as of April 3, 2023.He is the highest-paid athlete of all time, according to Sportico.

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