Michael Jordan's autograph is highly coveted and he helped change the way autographed memorabilia was marketed to the hobby. A courteous signer in college and throughout his early years in the NBA, Jordan became a marketing tool for Upper Deck in its second year of business. With exclusive signed photos, jerseys, basketballs and cards, Jordan changed the way people collected autographs.
His signature has evolved drastically through time. In college, it was simple but every letter of his autograph was penned. By the time he hit the court for the Bulls in 1984, Jordan had become very used to signing his name. By the early 1990s, Jordan had shortened his autograph and became more efficient, but it was tougher to read. Even though MJ's signature is readily available, it is still a cornerstone of many autograph collections.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan (February 17, 1963-) is widely considered the greatest basketball player in the history of the NBA, with all due respect to Kareem, Wilt, Jerry West, Bill Russell and many others. After starring in high school, Jordan was highly recruited by North Carolina’s legendary coach, Dean Smith, where he led the Tar Heels to the 1983 NCAA National Championship over Georgetown. The Chicago Bulls drafted Michael Jordan as the third overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, behind Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon and Sam Bowie. During his rookie season, Jordan made his first Sports Illustrated cover (Jordan was the subject of a record 60 SI covers.) and was named to his first of 14 NBA All-Star Games (named All-Star Game MVP three times – 1988, 1996, 1998). His second season, marred by a broken foot early on, was highlighted by a 63-point game against the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. This was a turning point in MJ’s career; as he would go on to win the scoring title in 1987-88 as well as his first Most Valuable Player Award. He was also named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. The Chicago Bulls, with the addition of small forward Scottie Pippen and coach Phil Jackson, soon became the best team in the NBA, heading to and winning three consecutive NBA Finals Championships from 1991-1993. Jordan was named the NBA’s MVP again in 1991 and 1992. By this point, in the early 1990s, Michael Jordan was a household name and perhaps the most recognizable athlete in the world.
In 1993, Jordan shocked the world when he retired from the NBA to pursue a career as a professional baseball player. Jordan was an accomplished baseball player in high school and chose to pursue his dream after the surprising murder of his father in 1993. Though he signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox organization, Michael played the 1994 season with the Birmingham Barons before ending his dream and returning to basketball. In 1995-96, the Bulls dominated the NBA posting the best record in the history of the league (72-10) with the additions of Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman and All-Stars Ron Harper, Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc. From 1996-1998, the Bulls completed their second three-peat in eight years. Michael Jordan was named the NBA Finals MVP in each of his six NBA Finals Championship seasons. In 1996 and 1998, Jordan was named the league Most Valuable Player again, garnering the award five times in his career. From 1984-1998, MJ won ten NBA scoring titles, three NBA steals titles, was named to ten All-NBA First Teams and nine NBA All-Defensive First Teams. He led the league ten times in field goals and field goal attempts, twice in free throws and ten times in points per game. He also led all players eight times in playoff points and seven times in field goals. Jordan retired a second time after the 1998 season and became part-owner and President of Basketball Operation with the Washington Wizards. In 2001, however, Jordan again came out of retirement, giving up his stake in the team to play two final seasons with the Wizards. Throughout the 2002-03 seasons, Jordan was celebrated around the league as he made his final appearances in stadiums across the US and Canada. Jordan played his final game in Philadelphia in 2003.
From the very beginning, Michael Jordan partnered with NIKE to create a worldwide brand, "Air Jordan", that far surpassed those of his contemporaries, and everyone wanted to "Be Like Mike." The Air Jordan brand became synonymous with basketball and Michael the king of the court, or His Airness. In 1996, he was the star subject in Space Jam, a Warner Brothers animated motion picture. Jordan played on two United States Olympic Basketball team that captured gold medals in 1984 in Los Angeles and 1992 in Barcelona as a key member of the "Dream Team." Jordan finished his stellar career with 32,292 points, 6,672 total rebounds, 5,633 assists, 12,192 field goals, 2,924 turnovers and 5,633 steals. Michael Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009. Michael Jordan became the majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010, making him the first NBA player to become a majority franchise owner.