Famous Leader Essay
Michael Jordan was possibly the best basketball player in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA). His career spanned over nineteen glorious seasons for the Chicago Bulls. The most recognizable athlete in the world, he is not only the top player of his era, but is quite possibly the best player ever to wear the uniform of an NBA team. The magnitude of “His Airness” can be best shown through Michael’s soaring hang times and acrobatic moves, but the legend of MJ is characterized by his tough spirit, determination and passion of the greatest player in basketball history.
In 1984, Michael came into the NBA after an outstanding three-year career at University of North Carolina. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Michael was raised in Wilmington, North Carolina, living with his father (James Jordan), mother (Deloris Jordan) and siblings. He hit the jump shot that gave the Tar Heels the NCAA Championship in 1982 and was the College Player of the Year in 1984. The Chicago Bulls took him with the No. 3 overall pick. In his rookie season, Jordan lifted the Bulls to a 38-44 record and a playoff berth for the first time since 1981. He finished the season with a scoring average of 28.2 points per game and set Chicago single-season records for points (2,313), field goals (837), free throws (630), free-throw attempts (746), and steals (196). It all added up to an NBA Rookie of the Year Award, a slot on the NBA All-Rookie Team, and a selection to the All-NBA Second Team. The Bulls faced the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs and lost in all four games. Jordan averaged 29.3 points in the series, but couldn’t muster his first playoff victory. Dissatisfied and disappointed, Jordan trained hard over the off-season to win his first playoff series.
Early on in his career, Michael was presented with mild success, but still unproven in the playoffs. Yet as the rest of the world was about to find out, MJ was possibly the most physically and mentally player on the court. He earned the MVP (most valuable player) status in 1988, 1991, and 1992, while scorching through the Finals and winning three consecutive NBA championships (1991, 1992, and 1993). He led the NBA in scoring for 7 consecutive seasons. In less than five years, Michael turned around a
deteriorating Chicago Bulls franchise, into one of the NBA’s most storied dynasties.
Yet midway through Jordan’s career, several life changing controversial issues came about. In 1993, straight off of his third NBA championship, Michael’s father was murdered in his car in North Carolina. The shocking tragedy, hit Michael very closely, and to pay homage to his father, decided to quit from basketball and play baseball. The entire basketball world was in awe. Many critics disagreed with the move, but Michael was serious. After one lackluster season with the minor baseball league, Michael reasonably decided for his return to basketball and to the Bulls.
After the death of his father and his stint with baseball, Jordan returned to basketball and to resume his record breaking career. After his return to basketball, he played as if he had never left, leading the Bulls to another “3-Peat” (1996, 1997 and 1998). After six NBA championships, Michael decided to retire from basketball. Yet with his charismatic ego and motivation to play the game, Michael returned once again to basketball, this time with the Washington Wizards. Two unsuccessful seasons later, at age 40, Michael decided to call it quits. In his final game played, he scored his final shot against the 76ers. Michael Jordan ended his career with 32,292 points, the 3rd highest in NBA history, six-time NBA Finals MVP, five MVP awards, fourteen All-Star selections and plenty of other accomplishments. Although many say he tarnished his career by playing with the unproductive Wizards, his leadership, long-term career and personal motivation cannot be dismissed. Arguably, Michael’s later achievements were more astonishing than before, with the strength of his spirit still strong, and knowledge of the game.
The mark of a great player is shown by an evolution of the game as it progresses. Michael changed the way basketball was played and contributed invaluable amounts of wisdom to younger players. He was the definition of a franchise player, bringing glory and fame to the Chicago Bulls who became the envy of every NBA team. He was also a member of the Olympic Team that received the Gold Medal in 1984 and 1992. Off the court, Michael set up his
own charity foundation, and helps poor children in violent neighborhoods. Never in trouble with the law, had Michael become the ideal model citizen to represent the NBA.
The most inspirational and energetic player in the NBA never lost the thirst to succeed and the preservation to win. MJ will go down in history as the definition of competition at its best. Through tough times and tragedy, Michael never gave up and pressed on. The reason for Michael’s illustrious success has been nothing short of hard work and never surrendering. His will to win, at any cost, has motivated many athletes and non-athletes to succeed at their goals.
Why do I admire Michael Jordan? He is the reason why I am strong and an amazing basketball player today. I was born in 1996, when the Michael Jordan era was about to finish. I did not know him at all until grade 6. My friends and I were playing basketball in the school gym when I hit the game-winning shot. One of my friends came up to me and said, “Wow, you looked like Michael when you hit that shot.” I was curious about who “Michael” was, so I did some research on him. After reading about him, I was astonished at what he has done. I was in awe. Over the years, I discovered more things about him. Even though I’ve never met him, he inspired me through his videos, NBA games and magazines. He taught me the game of basketball more than anyone I knew. During grade 9, I decided to try out for the basketball team. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it. Depressed, I’ve discovered that Michael also got cut from the basketball team during his junior years. I took this defeat as a challenge and worked on my game intensely. A year later, I achieved my goal of making the basketball team. Michael Jordan taught me that “Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” -Ashish Singh