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Michael Jordan was often suspended in ninth grade for getting into trouble

“If there is a "most likely to succeed," I was the least,” said Jordan of his outlook in the ninth grade. But that same attitude would lead to six rings in six Finals appearances, so not bad after all.
Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

When Michael Jordan was an elementary school student, he regularly found himself in trouble. His parents, James and Deloris Jordan, often had to discipline Michael by hitting him with a belt or grounding him because they wanted to raise him as a religious, hard-working, and obedient child. But just like any regular student, MJ often clashed with the mean bullies in school.

Michael's problematic times in ninth grade

In ninth grade, Jordan found himself in trouble more than three times in one year. According to GQ Magazine's David Breskin, who wrote an excellent profile on the six-time champion in 1989, it didn't take long for Mike to disappoint his parents. On the first day of school, he got into trouble was that he left campus but was caught by the school's governors, who issued him a suspension.

Michael's dad didn't take this upsetting news lightly, so he resorted to hitting his son with a belt. Michael, who spent his elementary days in Wilmington, North Carolina, was obliged to leave school grounds again, but that didn't mean he stopped getting into more trouble.

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Later that year, Jordan was again suspended and sent to detention because he fought another classmate who yelled a racial slur to his face in the school hallway.

"A girl actually called me a ni**er, and that was the first time I ever monitored those feelings. It really got to me. I threw ice at her, and I got suspended from school. I didn't care about getting suspended, I just felt I had to express my displeasure with her for using that word," Jordan said, as reported by the Chicago Tribune.

More detention time for MJ

Jordan tried to stay out of more trouble by focusing on sports and helping his baseball coach organize and clean the playing grounds during his free time. One day (which also took place in ninth grade), he was chalking baseball field lines for his coach until another white kid (FYI, the school's bully) decided to erase the white lines as MJ was marking them.

Not allowing the bully to have his way, Jordan reacted angrily and caused a fist fight in front of the school, which merited him more detention time. The fight between Michael and the white kid didn't stop as it followed in the detention center, which caused their teacher to have no choice but to punish them more severely.

"My mother takes me to her job and has me sit in the car, that hot car, all day doing my homework. If there is a most likely to succeed, I was the least," Jordan told GQ Magazine's David Breskin about the consequences he had to face.

Safe to say that Jordan didn't have the best time in elementary school, but some of the fights he got into were because he couldn't stand being a victim of racism. It was clear that at a young age, he didn't take the disrespect lightly, and although he may have been punished a lot, at the very least, MJ stood up for himself. 

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