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The Life and Legacy of Michael Jordan

On the 17th of February 1963 the richest sportsman and best basketball player of all time (statistically) was born. The basketball player who retired three times and also played baseball. The protagonist in one of the greatest sports stories that ended dramatically for the Chicago Bulls.

Michael Jordan grew up with a competitive spirit and would train hard just to prove that he was better than his brothers. He was discriminated against in baseball and basketball clubs because of his skin tone, so he worked hard to teach them a lesson. From 1981 to 1984 he played college basketball, winning a season there. In 1984 Michael Jordan was drafted to the Chicago Bulls where he won the Rookie of the Year award and ended with an astonishing finish against Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics. In Chicago, Jordan played the famous number 23 supposedly because of his brother. Nowadays the best basketball players in their teams have played with the number 23 such as Anthony Davis, LeBron James, Draymond Green, Metta Sandiford-Artest (formally World Peace) and more.

Michael Jordan also made a life changing decision back then; he signed a contract with Nike. Despite wanting to sign with Adidas, Nike offered a better deal. For the first time, basketball shoes were worn outside of the sport. Jordan’s shoes are some of the most sought-after which has made millions for both him and Nike. Jordan also expanded to other merchandise and the Jumpman or Jordan logo is so famous he put it on his 84-million-dollar private jet (in comparison he was paid roughly 35 million a year as a player).

But back to the court. Michael Jordan was getting better by the year, but he soon found two arch enemies. Dennis Rodman and Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons. Detroit and Chicago were fierce rivals and at the time Detroit was ahead of Chicago. Dennis Rodman was their defensive star who is basketball’s best rebounder, but he was also the biggest basketball bully as he would foul a lot. Isiah Thomas on the other hand was a smaller more offensive player who would primarily run and score. He refused to play with Jordan on team U.S.A. in the 1992 Olympics. In the 1989 and 1990 Eastern Conference Finals the two teams clashed for the first time. The Pistons won 4-2 and 4-3 in both following seasons. Detroit also won the Finals.

However, in the 1991 Conference Finals the Bulls came back better and won the series 4-0 going to the Finals, in which they beat the LA Lakers and the legendary Magic Johnson with a 4-1 lead. In 1992 the Bulls had their all-time best season, going all the way to the Finals and winning another Championship, this time against the Portland Trail Blazers 4-2.

In 1993 Michael Jordan called himself “The King of the World” despite having spent a lot of his time gambling and staying up until two in the morning at Casinos. Eventually, he did win another Championship against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns.

After winning three championships in a row, it seemed Jordan was unstoppable, but then disaster struck. His father was shot and killed, and Michael Jordan found himself in a dark shadow. According to him the last conversation he had with his father was whether he should switch to baseball, since he enjoyed it more. So, after the death of his father, Michael Jordan retired from the Bulls to play Minor League baseball for one and a half years.

Midway through the 1994-1995 season Michael Jordan was back playing for Chicago, but nobody had ever seen him play so badly. Since he hadn’t played basketball for over a year Michael Jordan was struggling and many doubted he could ever win a Championship again.

The following year, Michael Jordan regained his spark, beating the Orlando Magic, where young Shaquille O’Neal played, going back to the finals with a 3-0 lead. On Father's Day of 1996 Michael Jordan won a deciding game on a sad day for him after his father’s passing. The next season Michael Jordan was struggling against the Indiana Pacers and Reggie Miller after he lost an important game, but he knew he couldn’t stop and ended up beating them. He was on his way to the Finals against the Utah Jazz with Karl Malone, the player with the third most points in the NBA, and John Stockton, one of the best Point Guards in the game. The Bulls managed to win the first game by a mere two points. In the second game, Michael Jordan put up 37 points, a great achievement, winning the Bulls a second game. But Utah struck back and easily beat the Bulls once and then twice. The Utah crowd had been so loud from boos that the players came with ear plugs to the game. The next game was in Utah and when Jordan flew in, he was so hungry he ordered a pizza delivery and contracted food poisoning. Michael Jordan woke up two hours before the game, he was sick and the coaches and even his mum told him to stop playing. This game was called the Flu game and Michael Jordan was constantly missing shots. The Bulls were losing dramatically but they managed to pull off a one-point game with less than a minute to go. The Jazz players weren’t even guarding Jordan, who made an impressive three pointer finish, scoring 38 points and winning by two points. In the last game of that season, he still hadn’t fully recovered but felt better. He won his fifth championship with a 39-point game.

The next season was called the Last Dance, which also has its own documentary. The manager of the team Jerry Krause announced that the Bulls would be playing with their great Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Michael Jordan, and Phil Jackson (the coach who also trained Kobe Bryant and Shaq in the early 2000s). The next season both the Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls won and lost the same number of games and were in first place in their conferences. The Bulls beat the New Jersey Nets with an easy 3-0 series win and the Utah Jazz beat Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets. Both the Jazz and the Bulls won their conference semi-finals games 4-1, then, going to the Conference Finals, the Bulls just slipped through to the Finals with a 4-3 win and the Jazz easily flying in winning 4-0. Again, the two teams would meet at the Finals. The Jazz won the first game in Overtime as Scottie Pippen of the Bulls missed in the last seconds, but the Bulls recovered and won the next game. The Bulls won the next two games 96-54 and 86-82. That meant that the next game would win it for the Bulls, but unfortunately the Jazz won by two points with Karl Malone scoring 39 points. So, the Bulls would have to finish the series in Utah but the day before, Dennis Rodman didn’t turn up to practice for the Bulls, he was fighting at the WWE. Dennis also ended the Finals with an unfortunate 33 points per game. Then more bad luck struck, in the first quarter Jordan’s best player, Scottie Pippen, suffered from a back injury early on. In the first half, Jordan hit an astonishing 23 points, but they still trailed the game. In total, Scottie Pippen only had eight points in the game and focused mainly on assists, despite playing less time than normal. With a minute left Michael Jordan tied the game. But John Stockton from the Jazz hit a great 3-pointer. Jordan then scored two points, meaning he was still a point behind. John Stockton passed to Karl Malone, but Jordan stole the ball and ran up the court. He was being defended by Bryon Russell, one of the best defensive players. In that moment, Michael Jordan hit the most famous basketball shot of all time, giving the Bulls an 87-86 lead. Then John Stockton of the Jazz carried the ball up and shot a three pointer but missed, and the Bulls won their sixth championship, with Michael Jordan scoring 45 points.

Part two coming out soon…


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