February 12, 2015

 

By Kenneth D. Miller 

Sports Editor

 

Air Jordan has long since earned the title of the greatest basketball player of all time after winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

 

However, since retiring from the game and allowing Nike to push his brand into a new iconic stratosphere, Jordan has done something that no athlete can claim. He’s now a BILLIONAIRE!

 

By increasing his stake in the Charlotte Hornets from 80 percent to 89.5 percent, Jordan, who pulls in annual earnings of $90 million, increased his net worth from $750 million to a cool $1 billion, according to Forbes.com.

 

Jordan became a part owner of the Hornets (then the Bobcats) back in 2006, then bought owner Bob Johnson out for $175 million.

 

The Hornets are worth between $600 million and $625 million, a figure that factors into Forbes.com's calculations of Jordan’s net worth.

 

The team is $135 million in debt, so $416 million is applied to Jordan's net worth. Jordan is worth an estimated $600 million outside of the Hornets, which brings him to $1 billion.

 

GROWTH OF THE LEGEND

 

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Jordan was the third son of James and Delores Jordan, who moved the family to Wilmington, North Carolina when Michael was young. Jordan attended Ogden Elementary School and then Trask Junior High School. Jordan has two older brothers, one older sister, and one younger sister. At Emsley A. Laney High School, he became a better student and a three-sport star in football (at quarterback), baseball, and basketball.

 

He was cut from the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year because at 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) he was deemed underdeveloped, but over the summer he grew four inches (10 cm) and practiced even harder. Over his next two seasons, he averaged 25 points per game. He began focusing on basketball, practicing every morning before school with his high school varsity coach. In his senior season at Laney High, Jordan averaged a triple-double: 29.2 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 10.1 assists. He was selected to the McDonald's All-American Team as a senior.

 

Jordan earned a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina, where he majored in geography. As a freshman in legendary coach Dean Smith’s team-oriented system, Jordan was named ACC Freshman of the Year. He was an exciting if not dominant player, but the Tar Heels were led by All-American and future Hall of Famer James Worthy.

 

NCAA

 

Jordan made the game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Basketball Championship game against Georgetown, which was led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. After winning the Naismith College Player of the Year award in 1984, he left Carolina early to enter the NBA Draft, and was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the first round as the third pick overall, after Houston Rockets center Akeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie of the Portland Trail Blazers. Jordan returned to North Carolina to complete his degree in 1986.

 

LARGER THAN LIFE

 

Michael Jordan’s statue at the United Center.

 

Jordan played thirteen seasons for the Bulls and two seasons with the Washington Wizards. Generally used as a shooting guard, his height of 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m), skills, and physical conditioning also made him a versatile threat at point guard and small forward. He won six NBA Championships (1991-1993 and 1996-1998) and was league MVP five times (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1998).

 

He was also named Rookie of the Year (1985) and Defensive Player of the Year (1988), and won the Finals MVP award every year the Bulls reached the Finals. He also earned the elusive MVP triple crown (regular season, Finals, and All-Star Game) twice, in 1996 and 1998. Only Willis Reed (1970) and Shaquille O’Neal (2000) have won all three MVP awards in the same season (although it can be argued that Bill Russell would also have accomplished the feat, had the Finals MVP been awarded in 1963). In 1997, he also recorded the only triple-double in an All-Star Game.

 

Jordan’s coach for most of his career was Phil Jackson, who said:

 

“The thing about Michael is he takes nothing for granted. When he first came into the league in 1984, he was primarily a penetrator. His outside shooting wasn’t up to professional standards. So he put in his gym time in the off-season, shooting hundreds of shots each day. Eventually, he became a deadly three-point shooter.”

 

Wire reports contributed to this report.

Category: Sports



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