American basketball player Michael Jordan

(Michael Jeffrey Jordan; New York, 1963) American basketball player considered the best in the history of this sport. Certainly, since an American gym teacher invented basketball in the late 19th century Until the 1980s, a prodigy comparable to that of this legendary basketball player was never seen. At 1.98 meters tall, Michael Jordan was a tenacious defender, an excellent scorer and a quick and imaginative passer; but even more striking was his extraordinary ability to jump and the acrobatic maneuvers he used to dodge the rival defense and reach the basket. It seemed capable of staying for a moment suspended in the air; Such a faculty or “gift from heaven” – never better said – earned him the nickname Air Jordan.

Although born in the New York neighborhood of Brooklyn, Michael Jordan’s childhood was spent in the town of Wilmington, in the state of North Carolina, where he had moved with his family. A fan of basketball since he was a child, he began to emerge while still a teenager; At the age of thirteen, his father had a basketball court built in the backyard of his house, where he began to be the admiration of the neighborhood and the neighbors who met on weekend afternoons to play basketball and have barbecues.

It was impossible for a talent like his to go to waste in a country like the United States, the first undisputed powerhouse in the world’s second most popular sport after soccer. Part of this hegemony comes from the optimal organization of college and professional basketball. The National Basketball Association, known universally by the acronym NBA, was born in 1949 from the merger of two other existing professional leagues: the American Basketball Association (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL).

The NBA league is played in two areas or conferences, East and West, divided, in turn, into four divisions: Atlantic and Central for the first and Midwest and Pacific for the second. Each team constitutes a franchise linked to a city, although the franchise can change headquarters. Now, to promote equal competition, the NBA introduced the system drafts , by which the teams worst finishers in each division had the power to choose first those from most promising players in the powerful college football, NCAA . In a short time, the level reached by American professional teams became so high that the NBA’s superiority over any other national league would be overwhelming.

Like so many other NBA players, Michael Jordan took his first steps in the college league. In 1981 he joined the team at the University of North Carolina, and two years later he was already elected the best player of the university season, a distinction he received again in 1984. In the summer of 1984, when Michael Jordan was already known in the United States. United with the nickname “I can do it all” (“he can do it all”), he was part of one of the best American basketball teams that, under the direction of the rigid Bobby Knight (coach of the University of Indiana), was He won the gold medal at the Los Angeles Olympic Games (1984), after beating the Spanish team in the final. The American quintet (Leon Wood, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins,

The same year of his triumph at the Los Angeles Olympic Games, he began his professional basketball career: he was chosen in the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls, a team in which he would remain throughout almost his entire sports career and with the one who won six NBA championships (1991-1993 and 1996-1998). Top scorer in ten seasons, he averaged 32 points per game, an absolute NBA record, and was voted best player in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1998.

Michael Jordan attended his second Olympic event in Barcelona 92, the first games in which, due to a change in regulations, professionals were allowed to participate. The United States team, which would be called the “Dream Team” (“dream team”), had the best players of the moment: Magic Johnson , Larry Bird , Hakeem Olajuwon or Charles Barkley, in addition to Michael Jordan. The result was predictable: the “Dream Team” won the gold with overwhelming superiority and also became one of the main attractions of the Games.

In October 1993, after the murder of his father, he left the competition, but returned to the NBA in March 1995 and became the star of the Chicago Bulls again. When he returned, the NBA did not allow him to wear number 23, which had been retired from the Chicago Bulls. But shortly after, the superstitious Jordan requested it as a special favor, and those responsible for the tournament allowed him to play with the mythical number. Another of the many hobbies of this extraordinary basketball player was to wear, under the Bulls clothing, some garments from the University of North Carolina, for having achieved his first successes there.

His second stage was as triumphant as the first: Michael Jordan won three new NBA championships for his team (1996-1998), and his image ended up overwhelming the courts. In 1997 he starred in the film, a mixture of animation and real images, Space Jam.(with Bugs Bunny as a co-star), which became a huge box office success, and announced the creation of a sportswear company named after him. If on the court he stood out for his spectacularity, elegance and intelligence, off it he was always admired for his simplicity and honesty. In early 1999 he announced his retirement from active sport, but he still returned to top competition with the Washington Wizards, continuing to add records to his impressive statistics between October 2001 and April 2003, the date of his final retirement.

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