Michael Jordan, arguably the NBA’s greatest player and current owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, turned 50-years young on Saturday. Although he has been retired as a player for nearly a decade, his legacy, eternal greatness and six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls will always be remembered and cherished by basketball fans everywhere.
Everyone seems to have their own fond memories of ‘Air Jordan’, and the legend’s milestone birthday – which landed on the same day as the 62nd annual All-Star game – has brought those memories back to the surface, as many sports news outlets paid homage to the hall-of-famer in the form of top moments lists and favorite highlights. Sportscenter celebrated by counting down Jordan’s top 50 greatest moments, while Sports Illustrated placed Jordan on the cover of their magazine last week for the 50th time.
While Jordan is remembered for the all-time great player that he was, he showed us this past week that he can still play. After Antawn Jamison said publicly that he believed Jordan could still play in the NBA at age 50, MJ came pretty close to proving it by reortadley beating Bobcats star rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a one-on-one game. According to USA Today, Kidd-Gilchrist admitted to losing to his boss last week, saying “Oh yeah, he’s good.” Kidd-Gilchrist will turn 20 in September.
Of course, when he’s not beating 20-year olds on the court, Jordan has remained just as powerful and influential off of it. The name itself is considered a brand today. From his signature Air Jordan Nike shoes to Hanes and McDonalds ad campaigns, he is still one of the most recognizable and likable athletes in sports history. In 2010, Forbes listed Jordan as 20th most powerful celebrity in the world after earning an estimated $55 million between June 2009 and June 2010.
During a career that saw Jordan collect six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, five season MVP awards, 10 scoring titles, two slam dunk titles, a rookie-of-the-year award (1984-85), a NCAA National Championship (1981-82 with North Carolina), 14 All-Star appearances, and two Olympic gold medals, I think it’s safe to say there will be no other basketball player that ever comes close to being “Like Mike.” Here’s a clip from Jordan’s 2009 Hall of Fame induction for the nostalgic MJ fans out there: