Animated picture of basketball player

Michael Jordan had one heck of a career and won’t soon be forgotten by sports fans around the world. We consider his achievements here.

Michael Jordan became a player for all seasons in the championship series.

The barren area on Chicago’s West Side where the Bulls play their home games is unusually silent these days. No longer led by Jordan, The United Centre, their sparkling new arena, is a moonscape. Because of the labor between the owners and players, which was instigated by the owners in a lockout characterized as a fight between short millionaires and tall millionaires, or between billionaires and millionaires, all twelve pre-Christmas home games have been canceled.

The National Basketball Association, which would have begun its fifty-second season this autumn, appears to have succumbed to its dizzying success, with player salaries increasing by an estimated 2,500% in the previous twenty years. The incident that most likely precipitated the lockout happened approximately a year ago when the Minnesota Timberwolves extended the contract of a talented young player called Kevin Garnett for a total of 126 million dollars over seven years. Although, they aren’t as good as before, during the Jordan moment.

And how could they forget the impact of Michael Jordan? The Timberwolves’ general manager, former Boston Celtic Kevin McHale, finalized the transaction; dissatisfied with the league’s trajectory and his role in it, he subsequently stated, “We have our hand on the back. Of the golden goose, and we’re pressing hard.” 

Jordan and the NBA

The stillness is especially poignant in Chicago, where the finest basketball team in the country has played for much of the last decade. The Bulls, led by Michael Jordan, were vying for their sixth NBA title when they last played here, and they were up against a favorite, the Utah Jazz. It was an unforgettable series, the memory of which serves as this year’s sole — and mournful — feast for basketball fans everywhere. 

Michael Jordan was thirty-five years old. Perhaps the most dominant player in American sports when he led the Chicago Bulls into Salt Lake City. He was concluding his career, and, if anything, he was a complete player than he had ever been. His body can no longer compensate for his keen understanding of both the game and the other players. Nothing was thrown away. The manner he played now had a new aspect, almost an iciness to it.

After returning to basketball after a year-and-a-half baseball hiatus, Jordan spent the summer of 1995 in Hollywood filming Space Jam. Still, he insisted on the filmmakers constructing a basketball court where he could work out every day. Dropping by the Warner lot, old friends noticed him working especially hard on a shot. It was already a small part of his repertoire but that he was now making a signature shot. He held the ball, faked a move, and then fell back slightly, giving himself almost perfect separation from the defensive player. That shot was practically unguardable due to his ability to leap and his threat to drive.

Moving On

Furthermore, it was a very clever player’s surrender to the changes in his physique caused by time. It gave the signal the beginning of a new chapter in his career. What professional basketball players were witnessing was something that had been partially hidden earlier in his career by his unique physical ability and the artistry of what he accomplished. That something was a burning desire to not only succeed but to dominate. “He wants to tear your heart out and reveal it to you,” claimed his former coach, Doug Collins. “He’s Hannibal Lecter,” remarked Bob Ryan, the Boston Globe’s basketball guru. When a television interviewer asked Luc Longley, the Bulls’ center, for a one-word assessment of Jordan, Longley replied, “Predator.”