How Has Michael Jordan Impacted The Sports Culture?

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According TotalSportek, there are 13 factors that decides a sports popularity. This includes: “global based audience”, “tv viewership numbers”, “leagues around the world” and a few more. Using their ranking system, basketball is the 2nd most popular sport in the world just behind soccer. It has an estimated 1 billion followers worldwide that is only ever growing exponentially making it one of the fastest growing sports in the world. The aim of this report is to gain a deeper knowledge of why Michael Jordan is considered the best ever to play this sport and what he has ultimately contributed to impact not just the sport itself but the culture around it.

Who is Michael Jordan and what happened in his career?

“By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” This is the first sentence in Michael Jordan’s biography in the NBA’s official website.

According to Wikipedia, Michael Jeffrey Jordan is a former professional basketball player that played 15 season in the NBA during 1984-2003 (he was out of league during the years 1994, 1999,2000,2001). He is mostly known for his championship runs with the Chicago Bulls winning 6 championship titles. He is considered one of, if not the greatest basketball player by many people for his legendary career, impressive accolades and the way he changed how basketball is played which will later be talked about.

  • Michael Jordan has won 6 NBA finals MVP of his 6 championship titles, the next most is 3.
  • Michael Jordan has played 15 seasons in the NBA, he has been voted 14 times as an All star only missing out in his rookie year.
  • Michael Jordan has led the league 10 times in scoring, establishing himself as the greatest scorer to ever play.

Michael was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on 2009 in which his enshrinement speech encapsulate his overall character. Firstly , when called to stage he received a standing ovation showered with a loud applause from the audience of fellow players and celebrities which went on for a over a minute. This shows the amount of respect that Michael Jordan is given. Michael Jordan is very competitive which came from his family and friends that “threw log in the fire” and this is why he is best because of this nature.

How has he impacted the NBA or How did he changed the NBA

Michael Jordan was a complete player. He was a very versatile player as seen not only being an offensive threat but also a being a star in the other side of the court being named the Defensive player of the year on 1988 (as seen in Figure 1). But what he is ultimately known for is his prolific scoring as he did win the scoring title 7 years in a row and 10 in all (as seen in Figure 1).

One of the many ways that Michael Jordan has changed how basketball is played according to the Sports Archive Blog was through his “explosive slashing moves to the basket, awesome handling of the ball, impeccable shooting, and a great post-up game that was lacking in many shooting guards.” This was due to the league formerly being dominated by big lengthy centers such as Wilt Chamberlain who averaged 50 whopping points per game, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with his 8 MVP titles, and Bill Russell – a 11-time NBA champion.

Max Kellerman, a sport analyst for ESPN also states this fact in his sports radio talk show First Take going as far as saying that even some the big lengthy centers like mentioned above wanted to play like Michael Jordan as well.

“To say nothing of the influence on the game, how we think of it, “hero ball”, “iso ball”, facing the basket – 7 footer started doing it, they wanted to be like Mike”. Again, according to the Sports Archive Blog that because of Jordan’s unseen playstyle the league decided to change the rules to make it more “enjoyable”.

One such rule is the hand checking rule- before the rule was implied defenders was able to place their hands in opponent but after the ruled was bought in ANY hand contact between the defender and the offensive player became a foul. This in turn allow for smaller players to have a bigger role in the game encouraging them to constantly attack the inside of the defense and finishing with spectacular lay ups and dunks in which Michael Jordan heavily popularized.

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How has he impacted the sports culture?

“ESPN – (a popular American sports channel) had a panel of experts ranked the top 100 all-time NBA players who done the most to change how we play the game, talk the game and the culture of basketball. Michael Jordan came no.1 on the list for his athletic achievement and his economic empowerment to the future athletes to this day.” – Molly Rose

Sports analyst Stephen A Smith, Molly Rose and Max Kellerman discuss in their show First Take why Michael Jordan is the most influential basketball player of all time. Some of the reasons are –

  • “Popularity of basketball worldwide is due to Michael Jordan”
  • “The explosion of the value of the sneaker industry is almost all Michael Jordan”
  • “The crossover of pop-culture with basketball – commercials and movies”
  • “Economic empowerment to the future athletes today”

After 15 years of not stepping foot on the NBA court, how do Michael Jordan stay relevant with today’s younger generation? The answer is simple, his brand Air Jordan, a subsidiary brand of Nike that birthed from the monumental partnership that happened 36 years ago like mentioned above. Michael Jordan’s “unmatched mystique” continue to gravitate fans and players towards his products. Simply put, MJ is the “epitome of cool”, and when u wear his products you become just like Mike. The generational trendsetter whose influence on the modern day basketball and culture not only manages to inspire the general public but also household names such as the one who’s going to get mentioned.

“The explosion of the value of the sneaker industry is almost all Michael Jordan” The most obvious fragment of the Jordan brand’s success is his sneaker line, which is only getting popular as time pass. Houston Rocket superstar and Jordan Brand ambassador Chris Paul states:

“MJ will always be a staple on the NBA because guys care about how they look when they play and what shoes they wear on and off the court”

”MJ had a flare and style about him when he played. For me personally, I remember MJ used to tell me about going down to the corner in front of the other team's bench so the other teams could look at his shoes, which is killer.” Paul believes that Jordan sneaker line is one of the main reasons why his presence still resonates around our era and to everyone who didn’t even see or experience him play. His legendary career and the legacy are put in the shoes that the brand produce through the storytelling it provides.

“The crossover of pop-culture with basketball” Another reason that Michael Jordan manage to stay relevant in today’s culture is because of his brand’s pop-culture persona and being able to attract die-hard celebrities and rappers Jordanheads.

Quoted by Nas, one of the greatest rapper of our time – “Like there were the greats before him, he took the torch and lit up the world. My son knew his entire name when he was three years old. He inspires kids, they want to learn his story, the history, the stats, and how he did it.” -Quoted by DJ Khaled, a multimillionaire record producer and media personality – “Jordan is one of my biggest inspirations, for he is the definition of greatness”

Jay Z, Drake, Big Sean and many more great hi-hop icons are seen rock the Jordan’s on the daily and in big events. Having a plethora hip-hop superstars wear his kicks have certainly helped reach a new audience. Love it or hate it, you can judge Space Jam how you want. You can’t say that film hasn’t impacted the NBA players off the court. At that moment, no NBA player has ever starred a main role in a Hollywood film. The film paved a

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How Has Michael Jordan Impacted The Sports Culture? (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 15, 2024, from
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