Wilmington, North Carolina native Michael Jordan recently donated $10 Million to two hospitals in his hometown to help the community build health clinics that will target uninsured and underinsured individuals in need of healthcare.
“I am very proud to once again partner with Novant Health to expand the Family Clinic model to bring better access to critical medical services in my hometown,” Jordan said in a press release. “Everyone should have access to quality health care, no matter where they live, or whether or not they have insurance. Wilmington holds a special place in my heart and it’s truly gratifying to be able to give back to the community that supported me throughout my life.”
Jordan’s donation to Novant came as a surprise to local government officials and are thrilled to be able to offer more health options to the community.
Michael’s Early Life
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York in February 1963. In 1968, at age 5, the Jordan family moved to Wilmington, North Carolina.
Jordan grew up with a stable family life. His mother, Delores, was a bank teller and his father, James, was a maintenance worker turned manager at General Electric. Jordan had four siblings, Larry, Deloris, Roslyn, and James Jr.
Jordan’s father, James, introduced him to baseball and built a basketball court in their backyard. Michael proved his athletic skills in high school at E.A. Laney High School by playing basketball, football, and baseball. Michael tried out for the varsity team as a sophomore but was too short at 5-feet, 11-inches to make the team. He practiced and trained and became the start of the junior varsity team. He grew 4 inches that year and was selected for the varsity team the following year. He quickly proved to be the star of the team and was recruited by colleges including Duke, the University of North Carolina, the University of South Carolina, Syracuse University, and the University of Virginia.
In 1981, Michael Jordan signed on to play for the University of North Carolina. Jordan excelled on the team under the coaching of Dean Smith. Jordan made the game-winning jump shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship Game. This shot became a turning point in Jordan’s basketball career. He was also singled out as the NCAA College Player of the Year in 1983 and in 1984. Jordan left North Carolina one year before his scheduled graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft.
The Big Leagues
Jordan began his professional basketball career when he was the third draft pick drafted by the Chicago Bulls in 1984. Jordan proved his worth on the court. He helped the team make the playoffs and scored an average of 28.2 points per game that season. For his efforts, Jordan received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award and was selected for the All-Star Game.
By the late 1980s, the Chicago Bulls were quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and Jordan was an instrumental part of the team’s success. In a move that shocked many, after winning two NBA Championships with the Bulls, at the end of the 1992-93 basketball season, Jordan announced his retirement from basketball to pursue a career in baseball. For one year, in 1994, Jordan played for a minor league team, the Birmingham Barons, as an outfielder.
This decision came shortly following the murder of Jordan’s father, who always wanted him to play baseball. Michael’s father James was murdered in the summer of 1993 when two teenagers shot him in his car in an apparent robbery as he was driving from Charlotte to Wilmington, North Carolina. He was missing for 11 days until his body was found in a swamp in McColl, South Carolina. The teens were later tried and convicted of the crime and received life sentences for first-degree murder.
In March 1995 Jordan returned to the basketball court for the Chicago Bulls. He came back even stronger the following year, averaging 30.4 points per game to lead the Bulls to a then-record 72 regular-season wins before they defeated the Seattle SuperSonics for the NBA championship. The Chicago Bulls nearly matched the previous year’s record with 69 wins in 1996-97, a season that ended with a game six win over the Utah Jazz in the NBA Finals. The two teams faced each other again for the championship in 1998, with Jordan sinking the winning shot in Game 6 to claim his sixth NBA title.
After his second retirement from basketball in 1999, Jordan joined the Washington Wizards in 2000 as a part-owner and as president of basketball operations. In the fall of 2001, Jordan relinquished these roles to return to the court once more. He played for the Wizards for two seasons before retiring for good in 2003.
Michael Jordan is often credited with launching the popularity of the NBA into another realm of entertainment, one that hasn’t been matched since his tenure.
The Man, The Myth, The Legend
Michael Jordan’s talent as an athlete was clear from his humble beginning on his high school team in Wilmington, North Carolina. His role as one of the best athletes of all time impacted future generations of athletes made clear by referring to next-generation players as, “The Next Michael Jordan.”
Outside of his career in basketball, Jordan has been involved in a number of profitable business and commercial ventures. Between his profitable Nike partnership and his ownership of the Charlotte Hornets, Forbes estimated Jordan’s net worth to be over $1 billion.
Jordan signed his first deal with Nike in 1984, and he currently serves on the Nike Inc. board of directors. Nike launched the signature Air Jordan basketball sneakers in 1985. In its initial contract, Nike gave Jordan a generous 25 percent in royalties. The Air Jordan quickly proved to be popular, and it continues to be a best-seller for the apparel maker more than 30 years later. The collaboration mints money for Nike and Jordan, with Nike reporting nearly $2.9 billion in revenue for the Air Jordan shoe line.
In 2006, Jordan bought a share of the Charlotte Hornets and joined the team’s executive ranks as its managing member of basketball operations. In 2010, he became the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets and serves as the team’s chairman. Jordan has launched several restaurants across the U.S. as well as involving himself in numerous philanthropical ventures as well. He hosts an annual golf tournament known as the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational, with proceeds benefiting foundations including Make-A-Wish, Cats Care, the James R. Jordan Foundation, Keep Memory Alive, and Opportunity Village.
Michael’s legacy is felt everywhere but nowhere more than in his beloved hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Information and photos gathered from StarNewsOnline.com, PortCityDaily.com, Biography.com, Cape Fear Museum, and NovantHealth.org