In this clip of a 20-year-old Jordan, the ball gets thrown away and he chases a Duke player down to get the massive block. His Airness got so high he actually hit his head on the backboard.
The play was called a goaltend, and Dawkins got two points. But that’s not important. What is important is that Michael Jordan hit his dang head on the backboard on a fast break getting back to try and block a running hook shot.
Jordan actually had to be tended to after the play because his head hit the backboard so hard and with so much speed. He was clearly shaken up, and he came out of the game.
Known as ‘Air Jordan’ for his high flying ability, Michael Jordan revolutionized the dunk just as Julius Erving did some years before him. Winner of multiple NBA championships with the Bulls, multiple MVP titles, and Slam Dunk competitions — he is still regarded as one of the best dunkers of all-time.
Jordan’s listed vertical jump was 46” based on records from the University of North Carolina where they extensively tested jumping ability. According to the document, Jordan had a 36” standing vertical (no steps), and a 46” max. vertical (running start). His jump was close to 42” when dunking with one hand and just under 41” when using two hands.
The 42” sounds quite about right since we see him in a few photos with his head right on the rim. At 6’6” and the rim being 10′, that comes out to 42”. It would also make sense to assume that his vertical did increase after going to the NBA as he visibly got stronger.