Michael Jordan played 1,072 games in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. He established himself as arguably the greatest player in NBA history by winning six championships, six Finals MVPs, 10 scoring titles, and five regular-season MVPs.
Jordan’s career started with a bang in 1984-85. He won the Rookie of the Year Award by averaging 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists and leading the Bulls to the playoffs.
While accepting the Rookie of the Year Award, Jordan had some fun with the media in attendance by joking that he would only play two years in the NBA. Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
Michael Jordan scored at least 40 points seven times as a rookie
Jordan was a superstar the minute he stepped foot in the NBA. Along with his stellar averages, he recorded 17 double-doubles, three triple-doubles and scored at least 40 points seven times as a rookie.
On February 12, 1985, Jordan torched the Detroit Pistons for 49 points in 45 minutes while shooting an efficient 61.3% from the field. Everyone knew they were watching the next star of the league. His Airness had supreme confidence in his ability and was never scared of anyone on the court.
Hakeem Olajuwon was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1984 draft by the Houston Rockets. He put up stellar numbers in his first season. However, Jordan beat him in the Rookie of the Year Award voting, receiving 57.5 first-place votes. The Bulls were lucky they landed MJ with the third overall pick, as the Portland Trail Blazers could have selected him with the second pick but took Sam Bowie instead since they had Clyde Drexler as their starting shooting guard.
Jordan humbly accepted his Rookie of the Year trophy in a room packed with pundits, and he tried to ease his nerves by cracking a joke about his playing future.
Michael Jordan joked about playing only two years in the NBA
Jordan gave a short speech after winning the Rookie of the Year Award. During it, he jokingly said he would only play two years in the NBA if his sophomore campaign weren’t better than his first.
“I think my year was very experimental for me,” Jordan said. “I’m very happy that I achieved so much and hopefully next year will be more promising. If not, then maybe I’ll retire after two years.”
Jordan and the Bulls lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 1985 playoffs in four games. His second season in the NBA was full of turmoil, as he broke his foot in the third game and had to fight with management to let him play again once his foot healed.
Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics swept the Bulls in the first round of the 1986 playoffs, but Jordan put on a show. He scored 49 points in Game 1 and 63 in Game 2. The high-flyer was clearly joking around about retiring after his second season, and basketball fans are glad he was.
MJ turned into the GOAT
Jordan is one of three players in NBA history to win MVP and DPOY in the same season. Olajuwon and Giannis Antetokounmpo are the other two. The Bulls legend, who played in 14 All-Star games, went 6-0 in the Finals in the ’90s and never had to play in a Game 7.
With a career scoring average of 30.1, Jordan is the NBA’s all-time leader in points per game. He’s such an icon that the Miami Heat retired the No. 23 out of respect to his contributions to the NBA.
Three Hall of Famers — Karl Malone, John Stockton, and Charles Barkley — finished their careers without a ring because of Jordan. Knowing how competitive he is, MJ probably takes a lot of pride in that.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.