However, there may be a few things that the general public are not aware of when it comes to all things Michael Jordan. Below we present five interesting facts that perhaps only the most avid MJ supporters are familiar with. If for some reason you’ve already come across any (or all) of these little-known bits of information before, then congratulations, you are a true Jordan fanboy.
There are few things more iconic than Jordan’s famed “tongue wag.” Anyone who saw Michael play knew that this was part of his game, but perhaps not everyone knows where this came from. As it turns out, this is something Jordan inherited from his own father. As a kid, Jordan watched his father stick out his tongue while he fixed things around the house, and as fate would have it, MJ himself started doing it — be it intentionally or subconsciously — while playing.
Despite being pitted as rivals on the court, Jordan himself admitted that he considered Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson to be his childhood idol. So much so, that he actually bore the nickname “Magic Johnson” growing up. Jordan spoke about this in depth in a 1992 issue of Playboy.
“I liked him when I was in high school,” Jordan said. “They used to call me Magic Jordan. My first car had a license plate with Magic Jordan on it. It was a 1976 Grand Prix … There was a little bit of envy because of the way I came into the league. Magic came in with even more flair and even more success. And he should have been even bigger than I was in terms of endorsements and business opportunities. But he wasn’t marketed that way. And I was fortunate to have good people. So there was some envy … During my third year, he invited me out to play in his summer charity game. We ironed out our differences in private in the locker room and we began a relationship.”
Michael Jordan used the No. 23 shirt pretty much throughout his entire career. He wore the No. 45 for a brief time upon making his first return to the NBA, but reverted back to his iconic No. 23 soon after. However, what not all people know is that he actually also wore the No. 12 during his career.
In 1990, Jordan’s jersey was stolen in the locker room just hours prior to their matchup against the Orlando Magic. Despite their efforts to try and do something about it, the team were left with no choice but to have Jordan suit up in a nameless No. 12 jersey that the equipment manager kept for such emergencies.
For the record, the Bulls lost that game against Orlando, and Jordan never wore that number ever again.
The Retirement Conspiracy
Michael Jordan shocked the basketball world when he retired in 1993 for the first time. He was 30, at the prime of his career, and was coming off three straight NBA titles. The story went that he had already achieved what he had set out to do in the NBA, and that he wanted to try his hand in baseball (we all knew how that turned out).
However, there is a lingering conspiracy theory that Jordan’s retirement was not of his own free will. According to some reports, he was pushed to retirement — or a secret one-season suspension — because of his incessant and damaging gambling habit. Then-league commissioner David Stern allegedly banned Jordan from playing in one season because of his violations on the league’s policies on gambling. Whether or not this is true is an altogether different story, though.
The 1990 Three-Point Shootout Contest
In his illustrious career, Jordan averaged 0.5 triples per game on a 33.2-percent clip. Shooting from distance was obviously not one of his strong suits (it’s not like he needed it), but for some reason, the 14-time All-Star was invited to the Three-point Shootout Contest in 1990; and for reasons also unknown, Jordan obliged.
This resulted in one of the worst performances in three-point shootout history. The great Michael Jordan scored an embarrassing five points in what was something he almost certainly regretted. Surely, this was one of the worst moments in Jordan’s Hall of Fame career, and unfortunately for him, the internet never forgets. Here is a clip of that performance that will be remembers for all the wrong reasons.