Vintage Chicago Tribune: Michael Jordan — 23 stories about No. 23 – The Denver Post

The Chicago Bulls were looking to take a center in the 1984 NBA Draft. Instead, the team settled for the best college basketball player in the United States — Michael Jordan.

“We wish he were seven feet, but he isn’t,” Bulls general manager Rod Thorn told reporters on June 19, 1984, after taking Jordan with the No. 3 pick.

Jordan’s accomplishments as a player are numerous and unprecedented: Six-time NBA champion. NCAA title with North Carolina. Two-time Olympic gold medalist. Rookie of the Year. Five-time NBA MVP. Six-time NBA Finals MVP. 10-time All-NBA First Team. Nine time NBA All-Defensive First Team. Defensive Player of the Year. 14-time NBA All-Star. Three-time NBA All-Star MVP. 32,292 points during his 15-year career — the third-highest total in league history. Ten scoring titles — an NBA record and seven consecutive matching Wilt Chamberlain. Retired with the NBA’s highest scoring average of 30.1 points per game. Hall of Fame inductee.

The NBA legend turns 60 years old tomorrow. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 25 years since Jordan last played for the Bulls and 20 years since he retired from basketball for the third time. Jordan closed the Chicago chapter of his life a while ago, Tribune columnist Paul Sullivan wrote last week. “All that’s really left is his steakhouse, his statue at the United Center and the memories he created on the West Side,” Sullivan said.

Yet to most in Chicago, Jordan is still the greatest player of all time.

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Photo gallery: Michael Jordan through the years

From announcing he would go pro to receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, see Jordan’s life in photos. See more photos.

‘One day, God was sitting around and decided to make the perfect basketball player.’

Revisit 123 key moments in Jordan’s incredible life and career as depicted in photos, stories, videos and pages of the Tribune. Scroll through the timeline.

June 19, 1984: With the No. 3 pick, the Bulls select Jordan

He was taken behind Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie in the NBA draft. Read more.

Sept. 12, 1984: ‘It’s good to be in Chicago’

Jordan arrives in Chicago to sign a contract worth more than $6 million. The first No. 23 jersey Jordan was given by the Bulls recently sold for more than $81,000 during an auction. Read more.

Oct. 26, 1984: Jordan ‘brings the fun back to the Stadium’

Wearing a No. 23 Bulls jersey for the first time — in front of 13,913 fans at Chicago Stadium — Jordan scores 16 points in his NBA debut, a 109-93 victory against the Washington Bullets. Read more.

April 20, 1986: ‘I think he’s God disguised as Michael Jordan.’

In Game 2 of the first round of the playoffs, Jordan torches the Celtics for a postseason-record 63 points in a 135-131 double-overtime loss at Boston Garden. Jordan’s performance caused Celtics forward Larry Bird to call him “the most awesome player in the NBA.”

Two days later, however, the Bulls are eliminated from the playoffs in three games by the Celtics (The Bulls were also swept in three games by the Boston Celtics for the second straight season in 1987). Read more.

Feb. 6, 1988: Perfect 10

With hometown fans cheering in Chicago Stadium, Jordan and Dominique Wilkins go toe-to-toe in the dunk contest during All-Star Weekend. Jordan wins (for the second straight year), recording a perfect score with a slam that lifted off at the free-throw line.

The next day, Jordan earns his first MVP award in his fourth All-Star Game, scoring 40 points in the East victory. Read more.

May 7, 1989: ‘The Shot’

Jordan nails what becomes known as “The Shot” for a 101-100 victory over the Cavaliers in the playoffs. The hanging jumper from the foul line over Craig Ehlo at the buzzer in Game 5 clinches the first-round series for the Bulls. Read more.

June 12, 1991: High five! Bulls are champs!

In winning his first championship, Jordan scores 30 points with 10 assists and five steals as the Bulls defeat the Lakers 108-101 in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Jordan cries during the locker-room celebration and receives the first of six Finals MVP awards. The team holds a victory celebration in Grant Park two days later. Read more.

June 14, 1992: Bulls still champs!

Jordan scores 33 points and wins his second championship by defeating the Blazers 97-93 in Game 6. Read more.

June 20, 1993: Three-mendous!

The Bulls win their third championship. Read more.

Aug. 3, 1993: Death changes Jordan’s life forever

A decomposed body is found in Gum Swamp, about 60 miles southwest of Fayetteville, N.C. Two days later, a Lexus is found near Fayetteville with the vanity license plate UNC0023 missing.

On Aug. 13, 1993, officials identify the body as that of James Jordan, Michael’s father. Read more.

Oct. 6, 1993: ‘I have reached the pinnacle of my career … I just feel I don’t have anything else to prove.’

Jordan announces his retirement from basketball. Read more.

Feb. 7, 1994: ‘The circus begins’

Agrees to a minor-league contract with the White Sox. Read more.

March 18, 1995: ‘I’m back’

A two-word fax announces Jordan’s return to the Bulls. Read more.

June 16, 1996: Ringmasters

On Father’s Day, Jordan wins his fourth NBA title with the Bulls — the first since the death of his father. Read more.

June 11, 1997: ‘Flu Game’

A vomiting, dehydrated Jordan scores 38 points, grabs seven rebounds, dishes out five assists and hits the go-ahead 3-pointer late in a series-shifting Game 5 win against the Jazz in Utah. Read more.

June 13, 1997: 5. Enough said.

Scores 39, grabs 11 boards, dishes to Steve Kerr for the game-winning jumper and then dances on the scorer’s table after the Bulls win their fifth NBA title. Jordan is named Finals MVP for the second straight season. Read more.

June 14, 1998: ‘It was the toughest route, the toughest challenge, in the six championships we have won.’

With the Bulls down three, Jordan records a steal and two scores in the final 37.1 seconds, including “The Pose” after the shot over Bryon Russell — a 17-footer (after a bit of a push-off) with 5.2 seconds to go. Jordan scores 45 points in Game 6 against the Jazz, leading the Bulls to their sixth title. Read more.

Jan. 13, 1999: ‘I never say never, but 99.9 percent. I am very secure with my decision.’

Announces his second retirement. Read more.

Sept. 11, 2009: ‘Jerry’s (Krause) not here. I don’t know who’d invite him. I didn’t.’

Takes shots — mostly good-natured ones — at everyone from Dean Smith to Jerry Reinsdorf during his Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech. Read more.

An image of Jordan becoming emotional during his speech is soon turned into a “Crying Jordan” meme.

‘Holy (expletive)! That’s Michael Jordan.’ A behind-the-scenes look at ‘The Last Dance’

The 10-part series exploring Jordan’s rise and the Chicago Bulls dynasty through the lens of the 1997-98 season — became appointment viewing, launching on ESPN with eye-popping ratings and drawing instant critical acclaim.

For five consecutive Sunday nights, “The Last Dance” offered two hours of refuge from the COVID-19 pandemic, providing a reentry into a sports landscape that was otherwise desolate. Read more.

  • Dan Wiederer: What can we learn from Michael Jordan and ‘The Last Dance’? Forget about what might have been and just stay in the moment.
  • ‘The Last Dance’: Recaps from the 10-part documentary on the Chicago Bulls
  • ‘The Last Dance’ winners and losers: Michael Jordan, cigars and sports media fared well — while Jerry Krause and Isiah Thomas did not
  • Recap ‘The Last Dance’ and how the Tribune reported the events: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8 and Episodes 9 & 10

Paul Sullivan: Why do we cling to Jordan’s mythical title as the greatest player of all time?

The real question, Sullivan writes, is why Chicago remains so protective of someone who no longer lives here and has long been separated from the Bulls organization he once starred for. Read more.

  • Jordan donates $10 million to Make-A-Wish for his 60th birthday

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