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Michael Jordan in Black History

By Carrie Keathley

Dubbed "the greatest basketball player of all time," Michael Jordan dominated basketball during the 1980s and 1990s, leading his sport to worldwide acclaim. It is difficult to underestimate the impact of Michael Jordan in black history. (Reference 1)


Born February 17, 1963, in Brooklyn, New York, to Delores and James Jordan, Michael Jeffrey Jordan was fourth of five children. Michael grew up in Wilmington, North Carolina. His older brother taught Michael to love basketball, a segregated, lackluster sport a decade earlier. (Reference 2)

Amateur Career

The Laney High School sophomore played junior-varsity basketball because his coach thought his skills would improve with more playing time. He played varsity and caught the attention of University of North Carolina's Dean Smith. Jordan signed with UNC and captained the 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball team to win gold. (Reference 2)

Professional Career

Jordan led the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards. He won six NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals. (Reference 1)


Jordan proved an astute black entrepreneur, winning endorsements from major corporations such as Nike, Gatorade and Hanes. Jordan ranked #18 on the 2009 Forbes Celebrity List. He set the bar for Forbes List of black athletes who followed him. (Reference 3)

The Jordan Effect

Jordan's list of endorsements, book deals, colognes, underwear, restaurants and videos catapulted him to sports-industry superstar status. (Resource 1)

Fun Facts

According to the "Dallas Morning News," "Air Jordan's" first love was baseball, a passion he shared with his father. (Reference 2)

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