Michael Jordan was able to do some phenomenal things throughout his career. Even 20 years since his final NBA game, Jordan's records hold up to this day, and he is considered the greatest to ever play the game.
MJ entered the league in 1984, after a successful stint at the University of North Carolina, where he won a national championship, Jordan declared for the NBA Draft, as he got selected third overall.
'Air Jordan' immediately established himself as one of the best players in the NBA from the get-go. And for his performances, he won the 1985 Rookie Of The Year award. Jordan went on to become a superstar in the league, and one of the most popular players.
As the seasons went by, MJ looked like he was taking a step further each season. And within 3 years, Jordan ended up becoming the primary superstar in the league. The 1987-88 NBA season ended up being a hallmark season for 'His Airness'.
Jordan was an All-Star that season, and led the league in scoring, winning the NBA scoring title. On top of that, Jordan was named the MVP of the league in 1988, the first of his career.
But Jordan wasn't just a juggernaut on the offensive end, but also on the defensive end of the court. Jordan was named the Defensive Player Of The Year, becoming one of the few perimeter players in NBA history to win the award.
After a historic season, where Jordan dominated all ends of the court, he was offered a new contract. In September of 1988, Jordan signed an 8-year, $25 million contract, one of the biggest in the NBA at the time.
Jordan was grateful for the contract, noting that he wanted to earn the money he was going to get from his large contract. Even Jerry Reinsdorf acknowledged the new contract, noting that MJ deserved more money just after his first game in the NBA.
Jordan: “I think it makes me work harder and earn what I’m getting paid--not that I wasn’t earning it already.”
Reinsdorf (when asked when he thought Jordan deserved a raise): “First time I saw him play.”
Many consider Jordan's 1987-88 season to be the perfect season. But in honesty, his 1995-96 NBA season is truly the most perfect season ever. But Jordan did what very few have been able to do: win MVP and DPOY in the same season.
Despite Jordan's heroics in the regular season, he wasn't able to win the NBA championships. He would have to wait 3 more years to do that. But when he did win an NBA championship, he went on to three-peat twice. To this day, MJ and Shaquille O'Neal are the only players to win 3 NBA championships and 3 Finals MVPs in a row.