Michael Jordan, an iconic basketball player, was named as the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century by ESPN and inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame. He has played a major role in increasing the popularity of NBA. His athletic abilities and skills in the sport have given him the highest rank among professional basketball players. He is the winner of several honors and holds many records. He has won 2 Olympic Golds, 6 NBA championships, 10 scoring titles, and 3 steals titles.
Today, Jordan is retired and active in business. Let us look at the early years of his life and know how Michael Jordan's childhood was.
Michael Jordan's Childhood Years
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 17, 1963. In a few years after his birth, their family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina. His mother Deloris worked in the banking sector and his father James Jordan Sr. was an equipment supervisor. Michael had four siblings; brothers Larry and James Jr., oldest sister Delois and younger sister Roslyn. In an interview with Melissa Isaacson of ESPNChicago, while talking about their family, Deloris said that their son Larry was a very good basketball player, James Jr. had great leadership qualities, his older sister was creative and Roslyn, a writer. Michael, she said, was a combative child but also the most affectionate.
Michael Jordan completed elementary education from the Ogden Elementary School and then attended the Trask Junior High School. On moving to Wilmington, he was a student of the Emsley A. Laney High School. His athletic skills were seen right from school where he played basketball, football, and baseball. He had won the Dixie Youth Baseball Association's Mr. Baseball title and the Outstanding Athlete title when in the Trask Middle School. At the age of 12, said Deloris during the ESPN interview, Michael was suspended from school. Deloris knew she had to play the stickler now. She could not let Michael spend time doing nothing or watching TV. So she started taking him to the bank where he would be seated in her car reading books the whole day, while she would watch over.
At the age of 15, Michael Jordan was around 5-foot-11. His first attempt to be a part of the varsity basketball team failed as his height did not match the eligibility criteria for selection. His best friend, height 6-foot-4 was included in the team while Jordan had to stay behind. As a child, the one thing he wanted in himself was - to grow tall. And after his failed attempt at getting selected, he decided he would. He always told his mother what he wanted. His mother used to say he should put salt in his shoes and pray. Young Jordan would think it was silly and would express the same urge before his father. His father had replied saying, "You have it in your heart. The tallness is within you. You can be as tall as you want to be in your thinking".
During the year following his failed attempt, he grew taller and earned a place in the varsity team. When he was a senior, he was selected as a member of the McDonald's All-American Team. Michael Jordan majored in cultural geography from the University of North Carolina. He continued to play basketball throughout education. He also won a couple of Player of the College Awards then.
During the ESPNChicago interview, while talking about the proudest moments in her life, Deloris recalled the day when Michael's coach had declared that his skills had grown to a level where he was ready to enter the NBA. Deloris was worried about whether Michael would complete his degree after that. After two seasons though, Michael did it and made his mother proud. The second proudest moment came when Michael Jordan won an Olympic Gold medal. Such a wonderful moment it must have been for everyone in the family. Deloris remembered Michael, aged 9, telling her that Russia had won the basketball gold that year and that he would be in the Olympics some day and win a gold for their country. And he had done exactly that in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
During that interview, Michael's brother Larry recalled the one year when he and Michael played together in the varsity basketball and the years before that when they used to play baseball with a tennis ball and a barbeque pit in their backyard as the backstop. He commended young Michael's conviction and his struggle in becoming a great basketball player. Larry said he was never jealous of his brother, perhaps because the kids were brought up that way; they were always taught to support each other. Larry was in fact glad that he had the opportunity to see Michael grow. When Michael was a child, said Larry, they thought he would become a baseball player.
The world knows who he is today. His devotion for the game and his relentless efforts brought him where he is. Even as a child, he knew what he wanted to be. He wanted to be tall. Tall he grew and tall he stands. Today, he is an inspiration for basketball players and fans around the world.