Skip to main content

Why rookie Michael Jordan found his transition from college to the NBA "pretty easy"

Michael Jordan

If he made the transition from college to the big leagues, look effortless, maybe because it was.

In his rookie season in the NBA, Michael Jordan averaged a whopping 28.2 points per game (51.5 percent from the field), 6.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 2.4 steals. If he made the transition from college to the big leagues, look effortless, maybe because it was.

Transition to the NBA was easy for Jordan

An interview from 1984 reveals Jordan admitting that the adjustment from amateur to a professional ball was "pretty easy."

He didn't credit his supreme mastery of the sport as the main reason for his dominance. Young Mike was humble, unassuming, and knew precisely why it was a relatively seamless transition for him. Before donning the Chicago Bulls jersey, Jordan represented his country in the Olympics. And from his experience, the physicality of the games mimicked that of the NBA.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

"It's been pretty easy. I think the Olympics was kind of pre-professional. It was face-paced, physical, and that's just the NBA game. Coming into this level is a brand new start for me. Start from the bottom and work my way up. I think the hard work is ahead of me and I'm willing to take the challenge and go out the best I can," Jordan said.

Bob Knight and Dean Smith played a big role

Jordan also credited his college coaches Bob Knight and Dean Smith for honing his game. From his observation, the two coaches were on the opposite ends of the pole regarding their coaching style. Knight, the head coach on the 1984 Olympics Team, was the "hard type" who pushed his players to the limit. Smith, who coached Jordan in North Carolina, was the "mild type" who utilized all sorts of psychological methods to his players.

Interestingly, Jordan's penchant for hogging the ball — a criticism that followed him in his first few years — was already noticed by his first NBA coach Kevin Loughery. According to Jordan, Loughery reminded him several times that it is a team game and he should trust his other teammates rather than trying to do everything himself.

In his rookie year, Jordan powered the Bulls into the playoffs as the seventh seed. It was the first time in three years that the franchise got a taste of the postseason. The Bulls got booted out by the Milwaukee Bucks. Yes, it was heartbreaking. But it was good proof that the franchise were correct in picking Jordan as their third overall pick. 

WWE star Logan Paul and Dwight Howard

WWE legend Triple H’s dare to Dwight Howard: “Be like Logan Paul, Bad Bunny, Tyson Fury”

Dwight Howard doesn't just want to be a run-of-the-mill professional wrestler.

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett

"I’m still a Timberwolf until I die, as I am a Celtic" - Kevin Garnett addresses rift with Minnesota Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett is not in good terms with the Minnesota Timberwolves but his love for the city has never changed.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love

"It's a way to really challenge yourself" — Kevin Love talks about the hardest workout he's ever done

Kevin Love revealed the hardest workout he has ever done and it doesn't have anything to do with basketball.

BYU Cougars guard Jimmer Fredette shoots over San Diego State Aztecs forward Kawhi Leonard

“He said some things” — Jimmer Fredette on Kawhi Leonard's trash talk

En route to a 72-54 win, Kawhi Leonard approached Jimmer Fredette and talked smack to him.

lebron-james-boban-marjanovic-min

Boban Marjanovic doesn't think LeBron James is "the strongest player" in the league: 'It depends on what you measure'

Boban Marjanovic thinks it's impossible to hail LeBron James or anybody as the strongest player in the league there are a lot of factors to consider in measuring strength.

Yao Ming & Steve Francis

"It was me who was bothered by it" - Steve Francis on Yao Ming's transition to NBA

Steve Francis thought Yao Ming will succumb to the pressures of being an NBA star, but he was proven wrong.

Kobe-Bryant-Allen-Iverson

The Sixers reportedly almost drafted Kobe Bryant to team up with Allen Iverson in 1996

Drafting Kobe and AI in the same draft would've been the best draft a team had in NBA history.

kobe-shaq-1

"Leaders don't do that" — When Kobe Bryant shared why Shaquille O'Neal is not the leader of the Lakers

Kobe Bryant said Shaquille O'Neal didn't even reach out to him amid his legal battle.