In this series, we are going to be looking at some of the top athletes in their sports and the journey they took to get there. The series will also consider their top achievements and success outside of their athletic journeys. In this one, we will be looking at ‘his Airness’, Michael Jordan. 


Although the basketball GOAT debate rages on, Michael Jordan is regarded by many as the best player to ever grace the game. Michael was born in Brooklyn but his family soon moved to North Carolina. It was there that Jordan discovered his love for sports and first tried out for his high school basketball team, only to be rejected. There is some debate in the basketball world as to why this was, but that’s not what should be taken from this story. Michael used this rejection to fuel his desire to get better and is even quoted as saying, “Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I’d close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it. That usually got me going again.”. The following season Jordan made the team.  

Jordan went on to play for two seasons for his local University team, Noth Carolina. He was awarded rookie of the year, was the NCAA leading scorer both seasons, and was able to capture an ACC championship for his team. He was drafted for the Chicago Bulls in 1984, meaning leaving university in his junior year. It was during this time that he was selected for the Olympic gold-winning USA team. 

During his first season in the NBA, Jordan was named rookie of the year and brought a competitive spirit that drew fans that had previously given up on Chicago, back into the stands. This fierce playing style and desire to win, helped Jordan and the Bulls to capture six NBA titles.   

His career was not all smooth sailing. His father was murdered in the summer of 1993 and this had a huge impact on him. His father was the one that installed Jordan’s work ethic as a child and was a constant source of advice and support. This along with allegations of gambling, resulted in Jordan retiring from basketball and instead pursuing a career in baseball.   

This baseball hiatus lasted 17 months, giving Jordan much-needed time away from basketball to regain the passion he once had. Jordan returned to the NBA in 1994 and proved his critics wrong by continuing to dominate the game, even after an extended period away. He would go on to play for the Wizards after another short retirement, before finally retiring completely in 2003. 


He finished his career with:  

  • 6 MVP finals awards  
  • 10 scoring titles  
  • 5 MVP awards  
  • 10 All-NBA first-team designations  
  • 9 all-defensive first-team honors  
  • 14 all-star game selections  
  • 3 all-star game MVP  
  • 3 steals titles   
  • 1988 defensive player of the year 


Outside of basketball, Jordan has a keen eye for business. Perhaps most famously is his partnership with Nike and creating the Jordan brand. The air Jordan brand is instantly recognisable and has turned the NBA legend into a global icon. It is now estimated that the air Jordan brand is worth an incredible 3 billion dollars, of which Michael receives an estimated 1.3 billion dollars.  

Michael consistently partnered with sponsors during and after his career, including; Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Hanes, and Gatorade. He also owns the majority shares of the Charlotte Hornets and is a co-owner of a NASCAR team. Where other athletes have been guilty of spending their spoils without regard for the future, Jordan has been relentless in using his fame and fortune to reinvest and build huge wealth. 

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