30 years of Michael Jordan

Written By komlim puldel on Sabtu, 01 November 2014 | 20.01

Retro Michael Jordan and Spike Lee Commercial for Nike's Air Jordans. Courtesy: Nike.

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan. Source: AP

THIRTY years ago this week, Michael Jordan made his NBA debut for the Chicago Bulls, beginning one of the greatest careers in the history of sport.

Here are the highlights...

1984/85: Jordan starts his professional career in a big way at the Bulls. He is on the cover of Sports Illustrated within a month and earns All-Star selection in his rookie year. The hype surrounding him is so great that disgruntled senior members of the All-Star team opt not to throw him the ball in the showpiece event. He is named rookie of the year as the Bulls reach the playoffs, but fall to the Bucks in the first round.

1985/86: Misses 64 games with a broken foot but returns in time for the postseason. There, he produces a playoff record 63 points against the Boston Celtics, but the Bulls still get swept.

1986/87: Jordan's legend grows big time as he scores 3,000 points in a season — the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to have done it — and averages a league-high 37.1 points. He also becomes the first player ever to have 200 steals and 100 blocks, showing he is much more than just an offensive beast. Despite it all, Magic Johnson is still named MVP and the Bulls are swept by Boston in the playoffs again.

Michael Jordan takes part in the NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest in Seattle in 1987. Source: News Limited

1987/88: Averages a league-leading 35 points a game and is named defensive player of the year while picking up his first MVP. Bulls get out of the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the Jordan era, but lose in five games to Isiah Thomas' Detroit Pistons.

1988/89: Two words: The Shot. In what is considered one of MJ's greatest clutch moments, he hits the game- and series-winning jumper at the buzzer in the Eastern Conference first round against the Cavs. The Bulls lose to the Pistons again.

1989/90: Phil Jackson comes on as new coach and the Bulls reach the Eastern Conference finals again, only to fall to the Pistons again.

1990/91: The Bulls go to another level, finishing in first place in their division for the first time in 16 years. Jordan wins his second MVP and, more importantly, finally breaks through for his first ring, with the Bulls sweeping the Pistons along the way. The NBA finals appearance was the first in franchise history, and they beat the Lakers in five games. Jordan is also named finals MVP, and is moved to tears while holding his maiden championship trophy.

MORE: 23 incredible Michael Jordan stories

1991/92: Another MVP for Jordan and a second title as the Bulls only get better, breaking their franchise record from a year earlier with a 67-15 record during the regular season. In the finals, Jordan goes ballistic, scoring a record 35 points in the first half of game one against Clyde Drexler's Trail Blazers, including six threes. The Bulls win in six games and Jordan gets his second finals MVP. He goes on to win a second Olympic gold with the Dream Team as well.

1992/93: Jordan misses out on the MVP to Charles Barkley, but the three-peat is complete as Chicago beat Barkley's Suns in six games in the finals series, and His Airness becomes the first player to win three consecutive finals MVPs.

Toying with his opponent, Atlanta's Eldridge Recasner. Source: AFP

1993: Jordan shocks the world, retiring from basketball at his peak because he has lost his hunger for the game, adding that the murder of his father earlier in the year has spurred his decision. In another surprise move, he signs a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox, saying it had been his father's dream to see his son play Major League Baseball.

1994: As he toils in the minors with the Birmingham Barons, Jordan's No. 23 jersey is retired by the Bulls.

This man may be the most competitive athlete who ever lived. Source: AP

1995: On March 18, Jordan announces he's coming back to the NBA with just two words in a press release: "I'm back." He returns to the court the next day against the Pacers and scores 19 points in the highest rating NBA regular season game in 20 years. The Bulls go 13-4 with Jordan to reach the playoffs, but fall to the Orlando Magic in six games in the Eastern Conference semis.

1995/96: Sheer dominance, as the Bulls record the best regular season ever, 72-10. Jordan leads the league in scoring again, wins the league and All-Star MVPs and is named finals MVP for a fourth time as Chicago downs Seattle to win the championship.

1996: Stars in Space Jam.

Jordan in action against the Knicks in 1997. Source: News Limited

1996/97: Karl Malone denies Jordan the MVP, but the Bulls' dominance continues, finishing the season 69-11. Malone's Jazz await them in the finals, and Jordan produces two pieces of brilliance — a buzzer-beater in game one, and a haul of 38 points, including the winning three, in game five, otherwise known as the "Flu Game". A fifth championship for MJ and a fifth finals MVP.

1997/98: It's a rematch with the Jazz in the finals. In game six, up 3-2 in the series but trailing 86-83 with 42 seconds left, Jordan lifts the Bulls in another famous clutch performance, hitting the game-winning jumper. Six titles, six finals MVPs.

His Airness controlled games for the Bulls in 1998. Source: Getty Images

1999: On January 13, Jordan retires for a second time.

2000: Jordan becomes part owner and President of Basketball Operations of the Washington Wizards.

2001/02: MJ makes another comeback, this time with the Wizards. He lasts 60 games in an injury-ravaged season.

2002/03: Plays his 14th and final NBA All-Star game, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the all-time leading scorer in All-Star game history. His record is later broken by Kobe Bryant. Jordan plays his final NBA game against the 76ers on April 16, 2003.

2003: Jordan is fired from his front office job at the Wizards, and says he feels betrayed.

2009: Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

2010: MJ becomes first former NBA player to be the majority owner of an NBA franchise, buying the Charlotte Bobcats.

2013: Marries girlfriend, model Yvette Prieto, at a ceremony in Florida. The pair met at a Miami club in 2008 and tied the knot after dating for five years.

2014: Jordan and Prieto welcome identical twins, Victoria and Ysabel.

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