Even after he retired from the NBA for the third and final time in 2003, Jordan remained a worldwide icon due to his shoes and basketball legacy. At one point in his prime with the Bulls, MJ was undoubtedly the most famous person on the planet.
When you are a big celebrity like Michael Jordan, you can’t do normal things like going to the grocery store or filling up gas in your car without being spotted by fans. According to Charles Barkley, Jordan can’t even play pool with his friends without being bombarded.
Michael Jordan won six titles in an eight-year span with the Bulls
The Bulls drafted Michael Jordan with the third overall pick in the 1984 draft out of the University of North Carolina. MJ averaged 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game during his rookie season, winning the 1984-85 Rookie of the Year Award.
After struggling to get past the Detroit Pistons in the playoffs for years, Jordan and the Bulls finally got the best of their rivals in the 1991 Eastern Conference Finals. Chicago swept Detroit and advanced to the NBA Finals, where Magic Johnson and the LA Lakers were waiting for Jordan.
The Bulls defeated the Lakers in the 1991 Finals in five games for Jordan’s first championship. His Airness led Chicago to three straight titles in 1991, 1992, and 1993 before retiring from the NBA in the summer of ’93. Jordan’s father was tragically killed, and the shooting guard decided to play baseball during the 1993-94 season.
Jordan returned to the Bulls near the end of the 1994-95 season. However, Chicago lost to the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs, the only postseason series MJ lost from 1991 to 1998.
In 1995-96, Jordan led the Bulls to 72 wins in the regular season. Chicago defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in the ’96 Finals, with Jordan winning his fourth title and fourth Finals MVP on Father’s Day. The Bulls then took care of business against the Utah Jazz in the ’97 and ’98 Finals to end their dynasty.
Michael Jordan retired for a second time after the 1998 championship. He finished his Bulls career with averages of 31.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists.
Michael Jordan played for the Wizards for two seasons before retiring for good
Michael Jordan came out of retirement for a second time during the 2001-02 season. He played 60 games with the Washington Wizards and averaged 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.2 assists.
MJ’s final season in the NBA was in 2002-03. The 14-time All-Star put up 20.0 points, 6.1 boards, and 3.8 dimes in 82 games. Jordan finished his stellar NBA career with averages of 30.1 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and is universally recognized as the greatest basketball player of all time.
In 2010, Jordan became the controlling owner of the Charlotte Hornets. He’s the only Black owner in the NBA. MJ isn’t in the limelight as much as he was during his playing days, so he’s able to have some resemblance of a normal life and spend time with his family.
When he was in the spotlight non-stop, Michael Jordan had no privacy when he was out and about. In fact, the six-time champion once went to shoot pool with Charles Barkley in Phoenix when he was playing baseball and encountered a crazy crowd.
Over 100 people stared at MJ while he played pool
In 2005, Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley were on Oprah together. During the segment, Barkley talked about the time when over 100 people just stared at Jordan while he was playing pool.
“He (Jordan) was in Phoenix and we would go out and play pool all the time. We would rope off an area. It’d be like 100 people just standing behind the rope just staring at him all night,” Barkley said. “It was unbelievable. He’s the only person where people will just stand back and stare. We had to rope off an area. They’re just staring at him shooting pool.”
Everyone wants to be Michael Jordan. However, be careful what you wish for, especially if you value your privacy.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.