Michael Jordan's life story is one of resounding success. After all, coming from a normal family and becoming the GOAT of basketball and a billionaire cannot be described in any other way. He changed the way the sport is played and the way it's marketed, one of sports history's biggest superstars. However, what not many know is that this legendary story ended almost before it began.
Jordan was born in 1963 in New York City to James Jordan Sr. And Deloris Jordan. The family would leave the city in 1968, moving to Wilmington, North Carolina, where MJ and his brothers grew up. While he became quite competitive and driven as he grew up, a young Jordan was as carefree as any other child. And that is what almost cost him everything.
A story in GQ magazine in 1989 revealed that at the age of 5, MJ almost lost his toe in a freak wood-chopping accident. The writer painted a picture that sends chills down the spine, considering how truly terrifying it must have been for MJ and his family.
"Michael Jordan is in the backyard, shirtless and shoeless, having a good time, cutting wood. Everyone in his family wishes he wouldn't swing the ax around the way he does. He can't help it, he likes goofing off and having fun. With one last swing—not much different from previous ones—he brings the ax down squarely on his big toe.
"Blood spouts all over, and Michael screams. It looks as if he's cut his toe almost completely off. As he madly hops about, the toe flaps back and forth, like a door coming unhinged. A neighborhood woman is summoned—she's known as someone skilled in medical emergencies—but she mistakes kerosene for alcohol and pours that on the toe. Jordan howls in pain."
According to the article, it is the first memory that Jordan can remember, despite being just 5, the pain of the situation was something he never forgot.
"He's told to lie in bed. He's told everything will be okay. He just lies there, in shock, sort of whimpering to himself, waiting for the doctor. Michael is 5 years old. It's the first thing he can remember of life on the planet: that ax, that blood, that kerosene, that pain. That toe he almost chopped off. It's the thing that could have grounded him forever."
Ultimately, the young MJ recovered, becoming the phenomenon that everyone grew to love. There are moments in everyone's lives, even the most amazing of people, where it can all go wrong. The fact that Jordan was able to get out of this one without major consequences almost reinforces the sense of mystique and destiny that has always surrounded his legend.