Michael Jordan, former North Carolina Tar Heel and Chicago Bull, is arguably the best basketball player of all-time. He came from humble roots and rose to the top through his hard work,dedication and focus to the sport.
Michael Jordan was born on 17th February 1963 in Brooklyn, New York. Almost immediately after his birth the family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina where Jordan developed an early passion for the game of basketball. Michael often played against his brother, Larry, and usually lost. However, this fueled his competitive drive, causing him to practice harder and improve his skills.
Michael Jordan attended Laney High School in Wilmington. An often-told irony is the fact that Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. He was a sophomore and the coach cut him from the varsity team, not thinking that Michael was a high enough caliber player. Unable to accept failure, Jordan practiced with new determination, eventually making the team and leading his school to a state championship.
University of North Carolina
Jordan attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where, as a freshman, he became famous for hitting the game-winning shot of the 1982 National Championship against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown team. His game improved during his years in college culminating in National Player of the Year honors his junior year.
According to Singapore sports betting, the legend was drafted as 3rd overall in the 1984 NBA Draft by Chicago Bulls. His rookie season he averaged an astounding 28.2 points per game, winning Rookie of the Year and making the All-Star team. This kind of success was a constant in his career as he earned the following honors: NBA champion six times from 1991 to 1993 and from1996 to 1998, NBA MVP in 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1998, All-NBA First Team 10 times from 1987 to 1993 and from 1996 to 1998, All-NBA Second Team in 1985, Defensive Player of the Year in 1988, Nine-time All-Defensive First Team from 1988 to 1993 and from 1996 to 1998, Rookie of the Year in1985, All-Star 14 times; All-Star MVP in 1988, 1996 and1998, One of 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, and Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist in 1984 and 1992. His career averages were 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.4 steals, and 0.8 blocks per game.
Since retiring from the Bulls, Jordan became a part owner and president of the Washington Wizards. His tenure lasted from 2000 to 2003 in which time he was heavily criticized for his decisions, most notably taking Kwame Brown with the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. Then, in 2006, Michael Jordan became a part owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and was put in charge of basketball operations. In this role he is mostly aloof, but occasionally attends practices or makes public statements about the team.
Kobe Bryant Versus Michael Jordan
Kobe is a great player, there’s no doubt about that. The way he stepped up at the end of Game 5 of the NBA Finals was a true testament to his passion and his will to win. However, comparing him to Michael Jordan is a complete lack of understanding of the game of basketball.
Jordan is a legacy. Statistically, he falls below Bryant’s level of play. In his career of 15 seasons, Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game, 6.20 rebounds per game, had a .497 field goal percentage and was .327 from behind the arc. Bryant, in 12 seasons, is averaging 25 points per game, 5.3 rebounds per game, has a .453 field goal percentage and has a .340 three point field goal percentage. In two less seasons, Bryant has almost outshone Jordan’s numbers and has a way better percentage from three point land.
But when it comes down to Game 7 of the Finals, on the road, facing the opposing crowd, down by three with two minutes to go, who’s hands should the ball belong to?
NBA Final Appearances
Jordan appeared in six NBA Finals and carried his team to victory in each season. In practically each game of each final, he made a clutch play to force overtime or even win the game. It was clear that when it came down to the final minutes of a close game, everyone wanted the ball in Jordan’s hands and thankfully so.
Bryant, on the other hand, has led his team to five NBA Finals, the most recent being a few weeks ago against the The Big Three and the Boston Celtics. One would think this would be a fun and exciting series; each game forcing into a possible seven games. But when it came down to it, Boston overpowered the Lakers and Kobe. L.A. only won two games in the six game series, even losing a 31 point lead in Game 4.
Where was Bryant? Where was the almighty guard to tell his team to step it up and play with some heart? Sure, he made some big plays at the end of Game 5 to give the Lakers to take the win in Boston. But when it came down to it and really mattered, Kobe choked. Boston annihilated the Lakers 131-92. Bryant was 7-of-22 from the floor, finishing with 22 points.
Maybe it’s the fact that Jordan spent three years at the University of North Carolina before entering the NBA Draft in 1984, unlike Bryant who was drafted right out of high school (Jordan went back to UNC in 1986 to complete his degree). Jordan has more experience in tough situations. Bryant, although can prove himself at times, does not have as much experience in clutch situations as Jordan.
Overall, Bryant is a great player. He’s skilled and knows the game. He will, most likely, beat some of Jordan’s statistics. But when people think of the NBA, one of the first names that pop into their heads are the legends like Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And it won’t be surprising when the number 23 is universally retired.