Michael Jordan is one of the best athletes of all time, so it’s not surprising that most people know who he is. Although many recognize him for his basketball career, Jordan has worn many hats over the years— Olympian, baseball player, businessperson, and actor.
Decades after his rise to stardom, Michael Jordan’s popularity hasn’t diminished.
Are you a true basketball fan? If so, keep reading as we share some exciting facts about Michael Jordan!
1. He Was Once Too Short to Make the Basketball Team
Michael Jordan wasn’t always the star basketball player. The first time he tried out for his high school team, he was a sophomore. Unfortunately, he was too short, and they turned him away.
The rejection only motivated Michael to try harder, and he spent a lot of time playing basketball to improve his skills. Thankfully, he also experienced a growth spurt that year and grew several inches. When it was time for tryouts next school year, Jordan made the team!
2. He Was Rookie of the Year
Michael Jordan was a superstar from the start. In his first year in the NBA, he averaged 28 points per game and made an All-Star. In six games, he scored over 40 points!
These achievements resulted in him winning Rookie of the Year.
3. Becoming a Weatherman Was His Backup Plan
If Michael Jordan has proven anything over the years, it’s that his talent isn’t limited to basketball or sports. Being the intelligent man he is, he made sure to have a backup plan in case things didn’t work out in the NBA—as a meteorologist!
In 1986, he went back to school and got a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography. He never used his degree to become a weatherman, but he always had it just in case.
4. Michael Ate the Same Meal Before Every Game
Did you know that Michael Jordan is superstitious? He always ate the same meal before every game: a 23-ounce strip steak, potatoes (mashed or baked), a side salad, and ginger ale. Sometimes, he would smoke cigars, too.
Carb-loading was pretty standard in the 80s and 90s, but Jordan’s trainer saw the need to load him up on protein instead because he played so hard. If he didn’t, there was a worry that he would have a sugar crash.
Today, Jordan serves his steak recipe at his restaurant “23” in Chicago. Although it is likely a bit different than the one he would eat before his games, it has his stamp of approval!
5. He Earned His Biggest Salary in 1998
In the 90s, making $4 million a season was unheard of— but that was Michael Jordan’s salary. If you think that’s impressive, you’ll be surprised to learn that his earnings went from $4 million to $33 million!
This jump in salary made him the first NBA player to sign a contract worth more than $20 million.
6. Air Jordan Is One of the Most Successful Sneakers Ever
Air Jordans have been around since the mid-80s, but they are still one of the most famous lines Nike produces. In 2020, Air Jordan shoes grossed more than $3.6 billion, increasing over 2019 despite the pandemic.
As Air Jordans continue to hit the market, fans go crazy for them, even lining up to buy them! You can visit this site here to see the Air Jordan collection!
7. A Ballet Move Inspired the “Jumpman” Logo
You probably know that Air Jordan shoes feature the “Jumpman” logo, which looks like Michael doing a slam dunk. But did you know that a photo shoot inspired the logo for Life Magazine in 1984?
The photographer had Jordan perform a ballet move (the grand jete) that looks like him getting airborne before a dunk. If you look closely, you can see the difference between how he dunks and the logo.
8. Space Jam Was Inspired by a 1993 Nike Commercial
In 1996, Michael Jordan paired up with Bugs Bunny to save the world in the movie “Space Jam.” The idea for this film sprung up after the two were featured together in a 1993 Nike Super Bowl commercial. This wacky combination was a hit and the highest-grossing basketball movie of all time!
9. Water Is One of His Biggest Fears
Jordan’s just like the rest of us, so naturally, he has a couple of fears. One of his most extensive phobias is water and is the result of a tragic accident in which he saw a childhood friend drown. He was further traumatized after almost drowning at baseball camp as a child.
Even though he has tried to overcome his fear, he still feels uncomfortable on boats or near large bodies of water.
10. He Won MVP Five Times
Only the best athletes in the NBA receive the Most Valuable Player award. Jordan’s first MVP was in 1988, but he also won in 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998. The fact that Michael Jordan won five times says a lot about him!
11. He Played MLB Baseball to Fulfill His Father’s Dream
After Michael’s first retirement from the NBA, he decided to play baseball. He made this choice around the time his father died in a mugging gone wrong, and it was his dream to see Michael play baseball. During his period of mourning, Jordan joined the White Sox.
It was an easy transition since the team was under the same ownership as the Bulls. Although his baseball career was short-lived, it gave him the chance to honor his father’s dream and the energy to return to the NBA.
12. Jordan Retired from the NBA Three Times
Most athletes only retire once, but Jordan did so three times during his NBA career. The first was in the 1993-94 season, at the ripe age of 29. The day before training camp, he announced his retirement from the NBA and left to pursue an MLB career.
In 1998, Jordan decided to retire for the second time, but again, it was short-lived. In 2001, he was back on the court, where he remained until his final retirement in 2003.
13. Michael Jordan Has Five Children
Michael Jordan has managed to keep his personal life private, so not everyone knows that he has five children.
His first three children were with his wife Juanita Vanoy, to whom he was married from 1989 to 2006.
When they got divorced, the settlement was one of the largest in history. Not surprisingly, when Michael Jordan married his second wife, Yvette Prieto, in 2013, he had her sign a prenuptial agreement. Together, they share identical twins.
14. Michael Jordan Is a Billionaire
Michael Jordan made a lot of money in the NBA, but that’s not where he made the majority of his fortune. Each year, he earns millions on Air Jordan and endorsements.
As an entrepreneur, he has many other business ventures. For example, he owns a car dealership and several restaurants. He’s also the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.
While he isn’t the first athlete to become a billionaire (Tiger Woods also had this title in 2009), he is one of the few to maintain his fortune long-term.
15. He Loves Golf
Jordan began his love affair with golf in 1984 when he went golfing with a group that included Davis Love III, who later became a pro. His confidence soared when he parred one of the holes, building his desire to improve his game.
During his downtime, he played a lot of rounds, even if it meant blowing off the president’s invitation to the White House.
16. Jordan is a Great Philanthropist
Michael Jordan is well-known for his generosity, especially in times of tragedy. After 9/11, he donated his entire year’s salary to children who lost their parents and relief efforts.
Michael also uses the earnings from lawsuits to donate to charity when companies try to profit off him without his consent. In particular, he has given a lot of support to unprivileged children in Chicago, education foundations, and healthcare organizations.
17. Miami Heat Retired the Number 23 in Honor of Jordan
Michael Jordan never played for the Miami Heat, but the team has a lot of respect for him. To honor Jordan, they retired the number 23 in 2003. Since then, they’ve retired more than a dozen other numbers, but Michael’s was the first.
Now You Know So Many Facts About Michael Jordan!
In this post, you’ve learned 17 unique facts about Michael Jordan, and without a doubt, Michael Jordan life events have been exciting. To learn more about this inspirational athlete, check out his biography!
If you enjoyed these Michael Jordan facts, check out our other posts related to sports and entertainment!