On February 17th, 1963 the greatest basketball player of all-time was born.
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, burgeoned as a baller at Laney High School in North Carolina, spent three memorable years in Chapel Hill, and was then drafted by the Chicago Bulls where he became a legend among legends.
The Legacy of Michael Jordan
Though Michael’s retirement has been highlighted by his cantankerousness, infamously expensive divorce, and rather putrid tenure in a leadership role with the Charlotte Bobcats, none of it has sullied his playing legacy one iota. For mere mortals, it may have. But when it comes to basketball, Jordan is no mere mortal.
He’s the G.O.A.T. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who will argue.
On his birthday, let’s remember His Airness – the only athlete of my lifetime who I and everyone I know always expected to come through every time his team needed him to; and most of the time, of course, he did.
First, a look at Michael Jordan’s legacy, featuring numerous quotes from his peers. The first two, from Larry and Magic, pretty much sum up MJ’s impact on even the greatest of players who came before him and set the stage for Michael to become a true global icon.
Bird: “You know, I have the greatest respect for Michael because he put his heart and soul on the court every night. Just watching him dribble up that court and looking you right in the eye and not knowing what he’s going to do is the scariest thing you’ll ever want to be involved in.
Magic: “He just made you wish that for one day that you could fly in the air. You wondered what it would be like.”
Michael Jordan’s Greatest Moments
Via ESPN from a few years back, here are the 23 greatest moments of MJ’s career.
Everyone has their favorite. I’ve always had a personal affinity for #22. I can’t remember the last game of H.O.R.S.E. I played that did not include that shot, thanks to Michael of course.
The Best Michael Jordan “Mix-Tape” Ever
And you just know that I can’t put together a video compilation of Jordan’s best without including my favorite Jordan video from childhood: his NBA Superstars mix-tape (back before we referred to them as mix-tapes).
I realize that “Take My Breath Away” by Berlin is a slow song, but the lyrics certainly fit, and some of Jordan’s most impressive aerial feats deserve to be viewed in sensational slow motion.
Plus, how can you beat the intro with footage spliced of a plane taking off and Michael getting ready for a game? Brilliant.
Seriously. The first NBA Superstars tape was, hands down, the best set of basketball mix-tapes ever. So much so that it somehow feels wrong to call them mix-tapes. They transcend such simple, almost crass description.
What is your favorite Michael Jordan video or image? What memory isn’t captured above that you want to share? Use the comment section below to post links or just discuss Jordan’s incredible feats as a player.
And then, feel free to head over to this post by Jon Washburn – “Kobe First, Then Jordan” – to remind him that Michael Jordan was, is, and always will be better than Kobe Bryant (and, most likely, anyone else who ever picks up a basketball).