During the 1984 NBA Draft a player would be selected by a team that needed a super star to lead them into the future. The NBA was also about to gain a future legend that is still talked three decades later. This player was none other than the University of North Carolina guard Michael Jordan. Jordan was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 3rd overall pick that year. His rookie season was a peak into what the future of basketball and American sports was about to become.
Michael Jordan during his rookie season. (Getty Images)
Michael Jordan made his NBA debut on October 26, 1984. His Chicago Bulls were hosting the Washington Bullets. Much was expected from this rookie from North Carolina. Jordan had a solid game putting up 16 points, 7 assists, and went 6 for 7 at the free throw line. The Bulls beat the Bullets by a score of 109-93. As the season went on Jordan popularity would rise just like he would glide to the basket for one of his highlight reel dunks.
The Sports Illustrated cover that would add to Michael Jordan’s superstar status. (Sports Illustrated)
Before the end of 1984 Michael Jordan graced the cover of the iconic Sports Illustrated Magazine with the quote “A Star Is Born”. In early 1985 before the NBA All-Star Game the fans voted Jordan into the mid season classic featuring the leagues best players. Jordan faced some jealousy from his fellow players for the success he had achieved just a few months into his career. The most notable was Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas who has been the previous years All Star Game MVP. It has been said over the years that Thomas was trying to get the players on the Eastern Division Team to keep the ball out of Jordan’s hands and make him look like less of a star in the game. Jordan was was able to contribute in the game but hardly was the star of the game. Jordan scored only 7 points in his All Star debut.
The Chicago Bulls ended the regular season with a record of 38-44 and received a playoff birth. The Bulls lost their first round playoff series to the Milwaukee Bucks 3-1.
Michael Jordan played all 82 games for the Bulls in his debut season and put up outstanding numbers for a rookie. Jordan scored 2,313 points, 481 assists and had a free throw percentage of .845. He was also named the NBA Rookie of the year. Jordan would not win his first NBA Title until the 1990-91 season. He retired from the game for the third and final time following the 2002-2003 NBA Season. Jordan scored 32,292 points, won 6 NBA Titles and 6 NBA Finals MVP Awards during his career among many of his other accomplishments. He is considered by many to be the most popular American athelete since Babe Ruth and the greatest basketball player ever.
Posted in Historic Rookies, NBA, sports, Sports History
Tagged 3rd, all star game, best basketball, bucks, champion, chicago bulls, debut, game, legend, Michael jordin, mvp scoring, NBA, nba finals, of the year, overall, pick, player, playoffs, points, rookie, season, title, was, what year, when, who
Twenty One years ago today the visiting Chicago Bulls defeated the Phoenix Suns in game 6 of the NBA Finals to win the series. The Bulls won by a score of 99-98. Michael Jordan was the leading scorer in the game with 33 points. This was the Bulls 3rd consecutive NBA Championship. This victory further increased Michael Jordan’s legacy as the greatest basketball player ever. Jordan would later retire in October of 1993. He would however come back in 1995 to win 3 more NBA Titles.
Posted in NBA, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1993, 20, 3 peat, 33 points, arizona, champions, championship, consecutive, game 6, june, michael jordan, phoenix, retired, title, win
In November of 1993 just shortly after the murder of his father, Michael Jordan retired from basketball. Jordan had revolutionized basketball with his high skill set and magnetic charisma. He had already cemented his position in the Hall Of Fame and was arguably the most popular athlete in the history of America. After nine seasons in the NBA and three straight NBA titles it was all over.
As 1994 began Michael Jordan soon announced that he would try his hand at professional baseball. Mostly because it was the one sport his father wanted to see him succeed at when he was growing up. It would be a tribute to his father he said. The owner of the Chicago Bulls was Jerry Reinsdorf and he also happened to own the Chicago White Sox. Reinsdorf being the smart and adventurous business man he was knew that Michael Jordan would be a huge money draw in baseball. He agreed to sign Jordan to a minor league contract and pay him the same amount that he was contracted to receive with his Bulls contract. It was a done deal and the media and fans clamored to see Jordan make his debut in baseball.
Michael Jordan the “baseball player” (Getty Images)
As spring training began for the White Sox in Sarasota, Florida the Michael Jordan circus began. The media was always around and were focused solely on Jordan. They followed his batting practices, fielding practices and watched his every move. The fans also swarmed him every chance they could get, hoping they could snag an autograph of one of the greatest basketball players ever. The attendance for White Sox games that spring shot through the roof and many fans were unable to even get a ticket to the spring games. Michael Jordan played his first official spring training game on March 3, 1994 as an outfielder. He would play 17 games that spring and on March 31, 1994 was optioned to the White Sox minor league affiliate the Birmingham Barons.
The city of Birmingham was set on fire by the Michael Jordan experience. They sold out more games than they had ever before and had major media at almost every game. It was a treat for the fans of the Barons to get to see such a great athlete trying to make it in a sport he had not played since high school. Jordan had an average season with many ups and downs. He batted .202, hit 3 home runs and batted in 51 runs. Jordan played 127 games in that season and struck out 114 times. He definitely had a rough time but did make improvements by the end of the season.
Jordan being Jordan wanted to work more on his baseball skills and decided to play in the Arizona Fall League following his first minor league season. In that short season for the Scottsdale Scorpions Jordan batted a .252. While not great by professional baseball standards he did improve even more in the fall league and was poised to continue his development in 1995.
Unfortunately Major League Baseball was still dealing with the 1994 players strike when the 1995 Spring Training season was to begin. As the battle between the owners and the players union intensified the lines were being drawn. The players were deciding whether to sit out until a deal could be arranged or to play anyways. Jordan reported to camp in Florida initially in February of 1995. He would end up deciding in March not to be involved in the drama and chose to sit out while the strike continued.
It was during this time in mid march of 1995 Jordan attended a Chicago Bulls game. just two weeks later he was on the court playing basketball again. Many fans where excited to have his talents back in basketball and did not care that he quite his baseball career. Jordan would go onto win three more NBA Titles and retired from basketball for good after the 2002-03 season.
Because his basketball career picked up right where it left off in 1993 not many questioned the decision. It makes one wonder almost two decade’s later what would have been if not for the baseball players strike of 1994. Would Michael Jordan continued until he was either cut or made it to the Major Leagues? That is hard to say but it was clear he was on the right track to eventually play at the Major League level. He was only 32 when he went back to basketball and had time to develop into an even better baseball player.
We will never know where baseball could have taken Michael Jordan. We wont ever know where Jordan could have taken baseball had he stayed. The popularity of baseball would have likely increased after the horrible strike and maybe Jordan could have been the face of baseball. All we can do now is imagine what could have been but it is clear to see that the baseball strike deterred Jordan from continuing his baseball dream.
Posted in MLB, NBA, sports, Sports History
Tagged 1994, 1995, arizona, barons, baseball, batting average, birmingham, chicago bulls, fall league, games, hall of fame, march 3, march 31, michael jordan, NBA, outfielder, owners, players strike, retired, retirement, return tobasketball, sarasot florida, spring training, strike, title, titles, white sox
The UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones helped make history this past week. It was not good history by any means. The UFC was forced to cancel their September 1st show in Las Vegas. Jones is completely responsible for this cancellation. When his challenger went down due to injury on Thursday a wild ride began that did not slow down until Friday afternoon.
UFC President Dana White was able to get a replacement in Chael Sonnen. Jones would not face Sonnen with only 8 days before the fight. Jones’ Coach Greg Jackson tried to take the blame for not letting his fighter take the fight. With that situation Dana White was forced to cancel the show and blamed Jackson for being a “sport killer”.
The next option for the fight was Lyoto Machida. Machida was due a title shot but not this soon. It was announced that Machida would take the place of Henderson and the fight would be moved to the UFC 152 show on September 22nd in Toronto. Machida later declined and the UFC went after another former champion to fill the spot. That former champion was Shogun Rua, he too declined the fight.
With no other options for a main event fighter for Jones, Dana White chose UFC veteran Vitor Belfort. Belfort accepted and the fight will take place on the UFC 152 show. Belfort has great hands but does not have the genetic gifts that Jones possesses. Belfort is much like a Dan Henderson type fighter in the sense that he is a dangerous veteran that could win but will likely lose. This 24 hour period of insanity is a true low point for the UFC.
Traditionally when a fighter goes down due to injury the replacement is usually accepted by the remaining fighter. Jones did not want to follow suit. Because of this he will drive his appeal down with a fan base that does not really see him as a star yet. Jones is a fan favorite for the hardcore MMA fans but not casual fans who are the ones that really make or break a star and a champion at the ticket window. Jones has gone Heel (a pro wrestling term for bad guy) but he is doing it the wrong way.
MMA has had its share of heels through its history. The most recent being Brock Lesnar and Chael Sonnen. Both of those fighters know what they are doing with their characters and play the role well. They make calculated moves that make themselves the bad guys but still marketable and appealing. Jones does not have the personality or the where with all to be a true heel.
Marketing was stated as a possible reason Jones did not take the fight. Jones was worried that he may not keep his hot streak alive and possibly lose and hurt his selling potential. If that was his concern he would have taken the fight with Sonnen. Even if he lost and came back to another title shot he would be in a better light and position than he is by not taking this fight. Sonnen was the perfect opponent, he had not been training and would be moving up a weight class. Jones on the other hand would be peaking for the fight still and would have had 3 months of training under his belt. Now Jones will be know as the man responsible for destroying UFC 151.
There are many victims from Jones’ decision. The Cable companies who promoted the fight and where counting on their percentage of the PPV numbers. The UFC has also spent a lot of money promoting the fight, they even had a huge billboard at Times Square in New York City. The fighters who will have to wait on a pay day because their fight has to be moved to October or even November. The most hurt will be the fans who have spent their money to fly into Las Vegas, stay in a hotel and wait to have their tickets refunded by the UFC.
Jon Jones will likely become a villain from this situation, which for most fighters could be a positive thing. Not for Jones who needs to be liked. He recently signed a deal with Nike and when it come to merchandise if you are not liked people will not buy you things. Jones has a long road ahead of him, can he shake this situation? Maybe, he could come out on UFC 152 and knock out Belfort and everyone will forget about this like it never happened. It could be something that sticks with him his entire career and effects his earning and drawing potential.
Posted in MMA, sports
Tagged bad guy, cable, cable companies, cancelled, CHAEL SONNEN, challenge, challenger, champion, coach, dan henderson, dana white, died, fans, fighters, fly in, future, greg jackson, he, heel, him, his career, hotel, hurt, jon jones, killed, las vegas, legend, light heavyweight, long road ahead, lose, lyoto machida, main event, marketablility, marketing, new york, new york city, next, nike, nike merchandise, not enough time to train, not liked, pay off, peak for fight, president, press conference, promotion, september, star, super star, times square, title, title shot, toronto, turned down, ufc 151, ufc 152, vitor belfort, who will he fight