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In the Chicago Bulls’ era of basketball, Michael Jordan demonstrated skill above and beyond anything anyone had ever seen. He started his fame on the Varsity team of North Carolina University when he made what attendants of his college would refer to as The Shot. On March 29, 1982, at the National College Athletic Association championship, Jordan made a 17-foot shot with seven seconds left to win the championship. After that feat, Michael knew he could take the heat of the competitive level basketball, although the varsity coach cut him earlier in the season. In 1984, Michael was chosen to be the captain of the United States Olympic basketball team, which won the gold medal. He was also named college player of the year. When Jordan convinced himself to go on and play professional basketball he joined up with the Chicago Bulls. In only his second year of the National Basketball Association, he broke his left foot right at the beginning of the season, leaving him unable to play. Near the playoffs, Jordan insisted that he played. The Bulls made it to the playoffs and he scored sixty-three points in the second game, the most points ever scored in a playoff game. He leads the Chicago Bulls through six championships of 1991, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97, and 1998. (Herbert, 25) Hangtime was something only attributed to football punters, but Jordan brought the term to the NBA with his incredible ability to hang in the air while shooting and seeming to stay there long after the ball had left his hands. Jordan’s jumping ability caused a Bulls’ assistant coach to note, “He has more hang time than Ray Guy (Oakland Raider’s kicker).”(Clary, 46)
The skill Michael possessed came from his unbelievable dedication. This Basketball player was possibly the most devoted one to his game. When he was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore in college he stated, “I was angry, hurt, embarrassed, and ticked off, I spent that whole next summer in the gym working to get better. I had something to prove to myself.”(Loss, 25) Michael was very intense at practices. He made sure everyone gave it their all, or else he would push them around and talk trash to them. He remarked that he didn’t do it because that was who he was, but because he got very annoyed with people who came onto the court thinking it’s just a game or who simply thought that they were too good for the competition. Michael constantly worked on his game. An example of his constant training was when a photographer for the book Rare Air, called him at 9:30 in the evening and he was still lifting weights for the playoffs since earlier that day. Jordan admits that the influence of his parents, James and Delores, was the most important factor in helping him to achieve stardom. From them, he derived his renowned work ethic and inherited the competitiveness that had helped him to succeed. (Clary, 11) Jordan was not only dedicated to the sport, but to his physical health. He was once quoted saying; “I don’t mind administering machines or medicines to my body if it gets me ready to play. But I won’t. And I won’t take shots to cover the pain. I’ll do all the necessary work to help the healing process.”(Loss, 53)
Besides the dedication Jordan held in basketball, he had something most professional athletes did not have real skill off the court. “No one else was that type of player and had that kind of flair. I’ve always been in awe of his talent on the court, and I’m even more in awe of him as a man off the court. (Beckett Tribute, 9) Besides being an excellent role model for kids, Jordan had always been generous with his time for kids. Whether it was signing autographs, working at clinics, or just talking to them, Bill Brown the producer of 60 Minutes commented that “He’s a phenomenon-handsome, educated, dedicated, a very decent person. Despite the extraordinary athletic prowess, sudden fame, and financial success, this kid is still unaffected by it all.”(Herbert, 17) Michael also donates thousands of dollars to various charities. Jackie Banks, his administrative assistant said that “Even if a fan’s letter isn’t on official charity stationery, the chance still remains that Michael will personally read his mail now that he has more time to spend with his family. He sees a great deal of it.”(Beckett Tribute, 33). And besides all this, Michael started the Jordan foundation to support numerous charities.
Michael’s dedication to basketball was however limited, as one can only go so far in proving themselves. Having been named the most skilled player to ever play the game of basketball, Jordan decided that it might be time for him to retire for good. He had always wanted to spend more time at home with his wife Juanita, and his two children Jeffrey and Marcus. And so, after years of success as the best basketball player ever, Michael Jordan decided that it was time to retire and catch up with his life away from the courts. After a Tuesday’s practice, Michael walked up to Chicago Bulls’ coach Phil Jackson and asked him if there was anything left for him to accomplish as a basketball player. For the next few seconds, there was silence. “That’s all I needed. If there was anything, he would have told me real quickly” Jordan concluded. So ended the career of the world’s most famous, dedicated, and charitable athlete in history.
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