Before Michael Jordan became a global basketball phenomenon, he went through multiple stages of his life that shaped his career. He had to experience getting cut from his high school basketball team, work for a roster spot in North Carolina, and put the world on notice before he was drafted 3rd by the Chicago Bulls in the 1984 NBA Draft. Jordan mentioned that without all of these memorable experiences (both good and bad), he wouldn't be the player he ended up becoming.
So when MJ was asked which chapter of his career was the most satisfying moment, he revealed that it was his time in North Carolina. According to the 6-time NBA champion, his time with the Tar Heels gave him the foundation to become a legendary basketball player.
Why North Carolina?
Jordan will never forget his time in North Carolina because of the pressure he had to conquer to make a name for himself. The Chicago Bulls legend said that nobody knew him when he played for the Tar Heels, and so he had a chip on his shoulder to make a living out of basketball, unlike his time with the Bulls when people already knew why he was drafted 3rd in the 1984 NBA Draft.
"I would say it was for the Tar Heels. No one knew me until then," Jordan said in a one-on-one interview with Marvin R. Shanken in 2005. "At North Carolina, when they recruited me and asked me to attend the university, it was an opportunity to prove myself. Up to that point, everybody had heard that this kid is pretty good, but we don't know how good. He came from a small town. He wasn't preseason All-American. He wasn't in the Top 100 High School kids. He didn't attend AAU games, and he was not a ranked player in the nation," Jordan added.
Jordan's time with the Tar Heels
According to MJ, he was still a raw basketball player in college who needed to prove why he deserved a spot on coach Dean Smith's team. So he worked relentlessly and gave it his all on the court. During his freshman year, Smith's team-oriented system helped Jordan flourish, who not only averaged 13.4 points per game on 53.4% shooting but also knocked down the championship-clinching shot in the 1982 NCAA Finals against Georgetown. According to Jordan, this shot ended up becoming the major turning point of his career.
Before declaring for the NBA Draft in 1984, Jordan ended up playing out his sophomore and junior year with the Tar Heels, where he averaged 17 points on 54.0% along with 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game throughout his 3-year stay. Jordan's collegiate stint was as successful as his professional basketball career — but the difference is that the former was what shaped him into becoming the best basketball player he could be.