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His Airness in flight.

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."

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Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963) is a former Basketball player for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. One of the greatest, if not the greatest player to ever play the game, due to his skill, leadership and general professionalism. Indeed, during his career the younger generation tended to root for him despite having no Chicago ties whatsoever. In addition his stardom gave way to a massive endorsement enterprise including Wheaties, Gatorade, McDonald's and his massively popular "Air Jordan" Nike basketball shoes. He is now the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA franchise in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In fiction he starred in a series of Looney Tunes / Nike crossover commercials and that led to the 1996 film Space Jam, and has also been featured in several video games, including Michael Jordan: Chaos in the Windy City, and NBA 2K from 2K11 onward. He can also be seen doing commercials for Hanes underwear. In 2020, ESPN and Netflix aired a ten-part documentary series titled The Last Dance, which covered Jordan and the Bulls' 1997–98 season and pulled in huge ratings.

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As always, The Other Wiki has more information on him. But if you need some cold hard reasons why modern players want to retire his number altogether, you can peruse this list of accomplishments.

Not to be confused with the actor Michael B. Jordan.


Tropes associated with Michael Jordan:

  • The Ace: He is quite possibly the most well-known and most highly marketed basketball player of all time (in both respects, his only competition is likely LeBron James), and is the consensus greatest player in the history of the NBA. No one can match his six championships and Finals MVP awards note  and he was a force on both offense and defense for his entire Bulls career. He's also the only NBA player to have his jersey formally retirednote  by a team he never played for — the Miami Heat retired his number 23 after he spent the last half of the 1990s kicking their collective asses.
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  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: No, Space Jam did not make up him having a brief baseball career.
  • Always Someone Better: Was the target of this at first (losing to Sidney Moncrief's Bucks, Larry Bird's Celtics, and the "Bad Boys" Pistons). And then he became the unbeatable force that prevented big names such as Charles Barkley and Karl Malone from becoming NBA champions.
  • Badass Baritone: Michael has a rather deep voice.
  • Bald, Black Leader Guy: Once he started shaving his hair (because he couldn't avoid being harassed when going to the barber) it also coincided with his rise in team guidance.
  • Big Damn Heroes: He's hit more game-winning shots than any player in NBA history.note  He's also one of only three players to make a game-winning buzzer-beater in the final game of a post-season series (1989 vs. the Cleveland Cavaliers), which he did twice (1993, also against the Cavs), and his final shot as a Bull was the game-winning scorer against the Jazz that brought him his sixth ring.note  When Jordan saves the day, he has a tendency to make it as dramatic as possible, which contributes to his popularity and marketability.
  • Butt-Monkey: Was specifically this to The "Bad Boys"-era Detroit Pistons and demonstrated with the aptly-named "Jordan Rules" strategies used by the Pistons at the time to limit Michael Jordan's effectiveness. As summed up later, "while Jordan's on the floor (given his famed air game), we'll beat him and prevent him from scoring." This led to two straight lost Conference Finals, even inspiring Michael to buff up in the off-season so he'd both resist and dish out damage for a possible "round 3" - and it worked, given the Pistons were swept.
  • Competition Freak: Jordan's desire to win bordered on religious fervor levels; on the court, he played with more intensity and assertiveness than anyone during his time and he was often fueled by his fear of failure. He also entered the Slam Dunk Contest twice in the late 80s just to have something else to win, and even entered the three-point contest in 1990, despite being a pretty bad three-point shooter.
  • The Determinator: Anybody who knew him would say that the reason for his tremendous success was not due to talent, but his unbreakable work ethic and drive to win. He would train harder than everyone, he expected his teammates and trainers to keep up with him, and he never allowed injuries, illness, personal tragedies, failures, or public pressure to slow him down, much less stop him.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: His fadeaway (jumping backwards, away from the basket, while making a shot) is considered one of the hardest shots to make in basketball, because it requires the shooter to have good accuracy, a lot of strength and balance to counteract the backwards momentum, and the movement gives fewer chances for the shooter to grab his own rebound. Done properly, it is very difficult to defend against, and Jordan had a 50% success rate with this shot, one of the highest in NBA history.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Why did MJ and teammate Scottie Pippen go after future teammate Toni Kukoč in the 1992 Olympics, humiliating him on both sides of the floor in one game? For being a sought-after draft pick of Jerry Krause, with whom MJ and Pippen had a stormy relationship, and for playing the same position as Pippen, potentially challenging for his starting role.
  • The Dreaded: He slowly became this during his rise to superstardom in the late 80's until he fully embodied it in his dominance through the 1990's.
  • Expy: The argument can be made that he's the modern version of Boston Celtics center Bill Russell. Both men are one of the reasons why their respective franchises became perennial championship winners with their unrivaled athleticism and competitive spirit.
  • Functional Addict: He gambled for the most of his career but nonetheless it never curtailed his playing, not even in the slightest. Jordan, for his part, thought of it as just one more manifestation of his competitive nature.
  • Genius Bruiser: As he got older and his strength decreased, he was still a top-tier player because his tactical brilliance increased. He could read his opponents so well he'd intercept them before they even realized what they were going to do.
  • He's Back: This is literally how he announced his return to the NBA after his baseball stint, through a two-word press release.
    "I'm back."
  • In a Single Bound: There's a reason he was known as "Air Jordan", specially the dunks from the free throw line.
  • It's Personal: Jordan took a lot of things personally, like being rejected, not getting named MVP, or just being snubbed by peers in public. He'd use that to fuel his competitive edge and prove his opponents and doubters wrong. It's officially gone memetic with this comment in The Last Dance:
    "...and I took that personally."
  • Leitmotif: The instrumental "Sirius" by The Alan Parsons Project is often associated with the Bulls of the 1990s, and by extension, Jordan himself, because of how often the song was played over the PA system during the introductions of the Bulls' starting lineup.note 
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: His colleagues would often remark that he was quite an asshole to work with, trash-talking even his own teammates if they slipped up or missed practice. But they knew that he was the hardest worker on the team, and that he was trying to push everybody to keep up with his high standards, which ultimately allowed them to win multiple championships.
  • The Juggernaut: Trying to guard against Jordan was a nightmare. He was big, fast, strong, skilled, relentless, and smart. If you got in his way, he'd slip past you; if you managed to keep up with him, he'd muscle you out of the way; if you put three guys against him, he'd find a gap in your defense or throw one of his patented fadeaways and score anyway. If you put four guys against him, all that meant was that you ignored his teammates and he'd just pass and let them score.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: His favorite game wasn't some major NBA finals, but a simple training session that had zero audience members in Monte Carlo. The thing about this match was that it was between the 1992 Dream Team, arguably the greatest assembly of players of all time, with Magic Johnson leading one team and Jordan the other.
  • Showy Invincible Hero: Not only was Jordan one of the most talented basketball players of all time, but he backed his skills up with an intense bravado and flashiness that made him incredibly marketable. He just loved to show off.
  • Red Baron: 'Air Jordan' or 'His Royal Airness', due to his ability to leap and stay in the air as if he were defying gravity.
  • The Resenter: Whether the resentment is justifiably warranted or not, Michael Jordan has shown to hold grudges toward certain people over certain things.
    • To start it off, Jerry Krause for almost anything.
    • Isiah Thomas for him and his "Bad Boys" Pistons walking off court in the last game of the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals just before it ended, unwilling to shake hands with the Bulls.
    • Horace Grant for allegedly being a source for Sam Smith's The Jordan Rules, which paints an unflattering picture of Michael.
    • The Portland Trail Blazers for not drafting him in 1984 NBA Draft, picking Sam Bowie instead.
    • And when he was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, he took jabs at Krause, Thomas, Bryon Russellnote , Pat Riley, and Jeff Van Gundy, to name a few. Not to mention one Leroy Smith, who beat him out for the last place on his high school team's roster when MJ was a sophomore; he even invited Smith to the induction ceremony note . In fairness, it should be noted that he mainly cited them in the context of what motivated him to become an all-time great.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: Starred in a series of Nike commercials with Bugs Bunny, which were popular enough to spawn an entire movie.
  • Signature Move: He is best remembered for his slam dunks (his merchandise explicitly have that image), but his ultimate technique was arguably the fadeaway, which when combined with his ridiculous athleticism, was practically unguardable, and he used it to clinch many, many game-winning points.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Despite being considered one of the best players in the world, he had a weak shooting game during his early career. He then trained to overcome that deficiency, developed his trademark fadeaway shot, and became even more unstoppable.

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