His Airness. M.J. Air Jordan.
Before Michael Jordan was any of these things, before he was the most recognizable athlete in the world, he was Mike Jordan, the freshman for North Carolina.
Then he hit a game-winning shot in the 1982 national championship game, and Mike became Michael Jordan, who became all of the above.
So it’s no surprise that the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame elected to induct Jordan in the first ballot he was eligible — six years after he officially retired from professional basketball in 2003.
Jordan’s career stats speak to his unparalleled excellence better than any article could, but his impact on the University is equally difficult to quantify.
“It’s one of those things you can’t put into words as his impact on the University,” Athletic Director Dick Baddour said.
“All over the world, wherever you go, it’s Michael Jordan, 23 and North Carolina.”
Jordan’s influence makes UNC one of the most recognizable University brands, and his presence in the “One Shining Moment” recruiting video is a huge bargaining chip in getting both students and student-athletes to come to UNC.
And from a return to UNC to honor the 25th anniversary of the 1982 national championship game in 2007 to his appearance Sept. 4 to watch the alumni game, “His Airness” has celebrated his UNC roots.
“Michael being so easy to work with — he said, ‘Coach, just tell me what you want me to do,’” coach Roy Williams said after the alumni game.
And the basketball community at UNC will take a hefty amount of pride in Jordan’s induction.
“He’s a great player and a great person,” former coach Bill Guthridge (1997-2000) said. “And we’re very proud of him.”
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