"that Boy Is Devastating"
Jordan began to distinguish himself on the junior varsity team, and was soon averaging more than 20 points a game. "I remember going to Laney High on a Friday night, Michael's junior year, and now he'd grown to, maybe 6 foot 1," Jordan's uncle Gene Jordan later recalled to Kevin Paul Dupont in the Boston Globe. "Before the game he's telling me, 'Watch me, I'm going to slam dunk three balls tonight. You'll see. I'm going to slam three.' And I'm there saying, 'Boy, who you kiddin'? You can't slam no ball.' Well, he didn't slam three, but he sure as hell slammed two. And I told my brother that night, 'Hey, that boy is devastating.'"
Even so, Jordan was not on the lists of most college basketball team recruiters. He was noticed by recruiters at the University of North Carolina, however, and there he went to college, playing guard on the school team under coach Dean Smith. True success touched Jordan for the first time at the NCAA tournament in which his team played against the Georgetown Hoyas. Jordan scored the three of the last five winning shots to bring North Carolina its first title in a quarter of a century. "I've never seen anybody pick up the game so fast," one of his former UNC teammates and later Lakers player told Filip Bondy in the Daily News years later. "Michael just doesn't repeat mistakes."
After his success at the NCAA championship, Jordan became nationally famous, and a celebrity in North Carolina. He even landed on the cover of the Chapel Hill telephone book. Next came his selection to the U.S. team in the Olympic Games, played in Los Angeles in 1984. Team U.S.A. took home the gold medal. Jordan graduated college in 1985 with a bachelor's degree in cultural geography. After college, Jordan was picked up as the first choice in a draft lottery by the Chicago Bulls.
When Jordan signed on with the Bulls, he began a marketing relationship with Nike that was to last throughout his career; Nike released a sport shoe called Air Jordans. As for his performance as a player, he was soon unrivaled as an unstoppable force. As his coach, Kevin Loughery later said to Bondy in the Daily News, "If I put him with the starters, they win. If I put him with the second team, they win.… No matter what I do with Michael, his team wins."
Jordan was slowed at the beginning of 1985-86 season, when he suffered a stress fracture in his foot. Nevertheless, in 1986, he scored 63 points in a playoff game against the Celtics. In 1988, he was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year, leading the NBA in steals. He also earned MVP honors at the 1988 All-Star Game, held that year in Chicago. Another gold medal at the Olympics followed in 1992 when he again played on U.S. Olympic Team. By 1993, Jordan led the NBA in scoring, and been named the NBA's Most Valuable Player 3 times. He was also earning $30 million a year, not including millions of dollars more he earned endorsing products.