Michael Jordan enjoys a good cigar. He is a baseball enthusiast and has a love for gambling that still hasn’t grown into a problem. Well,’ not a gambling problem‘ at least, but ‘a competitive problem.’
These are all well knows facts about MJ. Pieces of information that your average NBA fan is familiar with. So let’s spice it up a little bit. Here are some things that you didn’t know about MJ.
MJ’S childhood nickname
Mike, Air Jordan, M.J., His Airness, Money, Black Cat, Mr. June, G.O.A.T., Superman, Captain Marvel, Black Jesus – say one of these things to Michael and he’ll respond. But growing up, calling him one of these nicknames would’ve meant nothing to Jordan. However, calling him the Rabbit would since that was his nickname growing up.
The origin of ‘the tongue’
‘The tongue is out, something bad about to happen.’ Mike takes one dribble, jumps off two feet, switches hands, and makes a left-handed layup. This was one of Jordan’s most iconic plays, and like many others, it started with the tongue.
Sticking his tongue out when driving to the basket became a trademark of Jordan’s, and it’s all thanks to his dad.
It’s a habit that I picked up when I was small. I got it from my father, and I just can’t get rid of it.Michael Jordan, One on One with Roy Firestone
Michael even tried playing with a mouthpiece, but it didn’t work. ‘It didn’t feel natural,’ as MJ described it. And good thing it didn’t. Because there was something about his tongue sticking out. It just made his iconic basketball plays all the more special.
4.38 40-yard dash at UNC
During his freshman year at the University of North Carolina, Jordan ran a 4.5 40-yard dash. Fast forward a year later, MJ ran a 4.38. Such a result was so surprising for the UNC’s coaching staff that they made Mike run it again just to be sure.
I said ‘Michael, we missed your start and made a mistake here, come on I need you to run it again.’ He said ‘Oh, too fast for you, huh?’ He goes back to the line and runs it again and all of us got below 4.4.Roy Williams, THE HERD
Michael was an NC State fan
Before he got to the UNC, Jordan was on the other side of the Carolina-State Game. The biggest reason for it was David Thompson – MJ’s favorite player growing up, and a guy that inspired him to play the game he would later dominate.
I was a very avid NC State fan; I really like them very much. I was really a fan of David Thompson’s style of play, and I just couldn’t stand Carolina. It’s just something that I didn’t like about Carolina, and it was only when I got the chance to visit both schools that I saw the family-like atmosphere in North Carolina, and that fitted me well.Michael Jordan, One on One with Roy Firestone
Looking back on it, it’s safe to say the fit was mutual. Jordan led the UNC to the ’82 NCAA championship, after hitting a game-winning jumper against Patrick Ewing’s Georgetown. He ended up becoming one of the greatest players in the history of the UNC – his second favorite NC university.