There will never be a debate about who the greatest basketball players to ever play the game without it starting with Michael Jordan. Even people who never watched basketball will say Michael Jordan, because his greatness transcended his sport. Jordan’s on-court accomplishments are something to marvel at, but how used his talent to make himself practically bigger than the sport that made him is still an awe-inspiring feat.
Here we pay homage to Jordan’s stature both on the court and off. Presenting the 25 reasons we love his Airness.
- The black and red Jordans made their debut in 1985, and were the first shoe of it’s kind. Prior to their arrival, basketball shoes were white. The NBA fined Jordan for his sneakers, for which Nike gladly paid.
- Game winning shots starting in college when he attended University of North Carolina and shot the game winner in the 1982 NCAA title game against Georgetown University.
- The Mel Turpin “Was He Big Enough” dunk.
- Game 5, round 1 of the 1989 NBA playoffs against Cleveland Cavaliers, three seconds left, Chicago Bulls are down by one when Jordan takes over and shoots the game-winning 15-foot jump shot.
- Jordan covers up the Reebok logo on his tracksuit with an American flag at the medal ceremony for the 1992 Summer Olympic medal ceremony.
- Played baseball with the minor league Scottsdale Scorpions, after retiring from basketball the first time.
- The “I can’t believe it” shrug in game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals against the Portland Trailblazers.
- His charity: Legend has it that during Chicago home games, Jordan would stop off at an unknown South Side Chicago neighborhood and give four tickets to the kids who lived in the area.
- In 1996, the Air Jordan IXI were spotted on the feet of all four members of R&B singing group Boyz II Men, who rocked the shoes with their tuxedos at an awards show.
- The “Love of the Game” clause in Jordan’s contract was one of a kind. Unlike most players, Jordan was allowed to play a pick-up game of basketball anytime, anywhere.
- The Jordan Brand Classic for high school student basketball players.
- The 69-point game against the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1990.
- The infamous mid-air hand switch lay-up in game 2 of the 1991 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Check out the rest of the list in our gallery: