The (Quick) First Step
If you don’t know him as the greatest basketball ever then you have to admit he’s in the conversation, at least. The man I’m referring is none other than Michael Jeffrey Jordan, a former standout at North Carolina and six-time NBA Champion with the Chicago Bulls. Before being brought up in conversation as the greatest player to ever touch a basketball though, Michael Jordan would have to prove he was worthy of the third pick the Chicago Bulls used to draft him in the first round of the 1984 NBA Draft.
Making A Name For Himself
If you can gain recognition for your ability to play at the NBA level before the tip off of the season-opening game, you’re doing something right. During the preseason games leading up to Michael Jordan’s rookie year, the recently drafted Tar Heel broke down defences and caused coaches to revise their game plans as he seemed to score whenever he wished.
By the time his first official NBA game was underway, Michael Jordan would be acknowledged by opposing coaches as they made adjustments to their matchups on defence by putting their best backcourt defenders on the rookie.
This proved to be futile though, as the young man executed his game in such convincing fashion that he was named to the NBA All-Star team his first year in the league.
Sponsoring the Rookie Sensation
Signing a sponsorship deal with Nike was one of the biggest moves Michael Jordan made during his basketball career. However, before the two became synonymous with one another, Michael Jordan would receive a lot of flack from opposing veteran NBA players as well as the league itself.
In several games, Jordan would choose to wear red-and-black shoes instead of the red-and-black shoes the team had named as part of their official uniform. This caused Jordan to be fined by the league more than a few times, and also earned the rookie a ton of ridicule in the form of name-calling from opposing players.
No longer much of a secret, the opposing players, led by the heavy influence of NBA greats Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas, took it even further by plotting to keep the ball out of Michael Jordan’s hands during the NBA All-Star game.
While the scheme seemed to have worked, the NBA greats didn’t realise their actions had caused them to appear threatened by the rookie. Why would the greats of the league be threatened by a player with less than a year of playing time under his belt unless they knew he would be the one to take them down a couple notches in the years to come?
Establishing Excellence Is Evaded … For Now
Michael Jordan continually caused chaos for opposing coaches for the remainder of his rookie season, and nearly single-handedly pushed the Chicago Bulls into the playoffs. While he played extremely well, especially during game three of the series against Milwaukee, it wasn’t enough. The Bulls fell short in the series 3-1. Losing the playoff series would not take away from the fact that Michael Jordan had made a name for himself in the NBA.