Michael Jordan won six NBA championships, five MVP awards, and has an immensely popular line of signature sneakers. Of course, if you're reading this story, you're probably familiar with the tidbits of be-like-Mike folklore and his exalted list of personal achievements. Thanks, smarty pants. You've made this list much harder to make.
You may also know that MJ turns 50 years old on Sunday. That's right. The man who will forever be etched in our memories dunking from the free-throw line, is six months from developing cataracts and getting the senior rate at Applebee's. And to celebrate the greatest basketball player of all time's first half century on this Earth, we offer 50 Things You Didn't Know About Michael Jordan.
Written by Sean Evans (@seanseaevans)
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He once punched Steve Kerr in the face during practice.
He was never actually cut from his high school basketball team.
When his No. 23 jersey was stolen from Orlando's locker room, Jordan wore No. 12.
In high school, he penned the phrase, "I am finally getting use to going with a girl much smaller than I" in a love letter.
Jordan grew up rooting for NC State, not UNC.
And he could have gone to Duke.
Every 10 days, he gets a manicure.
He shot 31-189 (.164) from three-point range over his first four seasons.
His $168M divorce is the second most expensive in sports history. Roman Abramovich's $300M settlement is first.
His original shoe deal with Nike was for $2.5M over five years.
He once had 10 triple-doubles in an 11-game span (3/25 - 4/14 1989).
During a game of golf, MJ shamed President Bill Clinton from the white tees by saying, “You’re going to play from the little girls tees?”
MJ once said of teammates John Paxson and Ed Nealy: “The white guys, they work hard but they don’t have the talent.”
Space Jams Stats
In the movie Space Jam, MJ was a perfect 22-22 from the field, scored 44 points and had two turnovers.
He threw several no-hitters in Little League.
He majored in cultural geography.
In grade school, MJ was suspended for smashing a Popsicle stick into the head of a girl who called him a racial slur.
In 1986, he appeared in this lame commercial for a women’s hair product.
He never saw “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo go in. His iconic celebration was based purely on the reaction of the crowd.
He preferred Adidas to Nike.
At a surprise birthday party for Scottie Pippen, MJ and his former teammate reportedly had a dance-off to Trey Songz’ “Say Ahh.”
A gallon of Michael Jordan’s McDonald-brand barbecue sauce sold on eBay for nearly $10,000.
Michael Jordan’s golf bag features six NBA championship rings, a Jumpman logo, and a Jordan 14 shoe.
He once bribed an airport employee to win a bet with teammates over whose luggage would be the first to roll off the baggage conveyor.
His school of choice was UCLA, not the University of North Carolina. But the Bruins never recruited him.
In '94, while playing AA baseball in the White Sox organization, he stole 30 bases in 48 tries.
During the 1997 NBA Playoffs, Jordan walked into Washington’s locker room with a lit cigar and asked Wizards players, ‘Who’s going to check me tonight?”
He ate the same meal before every game: a 23-ounce steak, a baked potato, and a ginger ale.
He picked up his trademark “tongue out” habit from his dad, who had a similar quirk while doing mechanical work.
According to Richard Esquinas, Jordan once ran up a $1.25M gambling debt in a single day of golf.
After a foot injury sidelined him for most of the ’85-’86 season, Jordan reported to camp the following year with 3.4% body fat and ran the mile in 5:22.
Out of respect for Nike, Jordan placed an American flag over the Reebok logo on his ’92 Olympic warmup
In his first three seasons, he won a grand total of one playoff game.
A mutual fund executive once beat him in a game of one-on-one at his “Flight School” in Las Vegas.
According to a Bulls source, he ruined Rodney McCray’s career with aggressive trash-talk during practice.
Other than Wilt Chamberlain (who did it three times), MJ is the only NBA player to score 3,000-plus points in a season ('86-87).
After losing by one stroke to Dream Team head coach Chuck Daly, Jordan banged on his door the following morning demanding angrily that they play another 18 holes.
His 30 points in the McDonald's All-American Game were the most by a player in game history, until Jonathan Bender scored 31 in 1999.
After missing a crucial playoff free-throw against Cleveland, Jordan reportedly spent hours staring at a blank television.
When former Chicago assistant coach Tex Winter told him, "There's no 'I' in the word 'team'.” Jordan responded, "Th
He effectually ended Muggsy Bogues’ career by calling him “a f***ing midget” in the ’95 playoffs.
He participated in three slam dunk contests and won two of them
Michael Jordan's Airwaves
In 1989, MJ had a short-lived local TV show called Michael Jordan Airwaves.