My first memories of Michael Jordan came as a little five-year-old, watching the 1993 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns. I remember taking those games in with my dad, mostly oblivious to just how much Jordan and those Bulls meant to not only the city of Chicago, but the entire sport of basketball. Those early memories are vague, but they were just the start of a long line of them that I have had being a fan of the Bulls.
I've always wished that I was a bit older during the title runs, because even though I watched almost every single game during that second three-peat, I never truly appreciated the greatness we were witness to. I was still just an awestruck kid, not capable of fully understanding the significance of Jordan's Bulls (and also not capable of enjoying the celebrations as much). I could only imagine what it would be like if I got to see those championships at the age I'm at now. I certainly would have tried to go to more games, as I only got to see Jordan play in person once, and it was a non-descript game against the Warriors in 1996 where he scored 17 points.
Since Jordan retired in 1998 (I'm just going to block out the Wizards years), I've obviously watched plenty of video and pored over his career statistics to reinforce just how amazing this man was at playing the game of basketball. He truly is the greatest of all time, and while I admit LeBron James will likely enter the stratosphere once he's done playing, I don't think he'll ever surpass Jordan unless he gets really crazy with championships. And even then, Jordan would still have the advantage of never losing in the NBA Finals, something that LeBron has already done twice. Also, don't get me started on the Kobe Bryant comparisons.
Part of what made Jordan the best ever on the court was his insane competitiveness (literally probably bordering on insanity). The guy had a killer instinct unlike any other, and still does. We see it come out pretty much every time he talks, which is why he often comes off as a complete asshole. And make no mistake about it, Michael Jordan is a huge asshole. But that's one of the reasons he and his Bulls won so damn much.
So with Jordan turning 50 today, I figured it would be nice to gather some links and videos from around the web to commemorate His Airness. And this will also allow you guys to post some of your favorite memories of the G.O.A.T.
OTL: Michael Jordan Has Not Left The Building - ESPN
Wright Thompson's wide-ranging profile is brilliant, delving into the life of Jordan both past and present. There's some really candid stuff here, and if you somehow still didn't think Jordan was an asshole, this will change your mind. The guy still takes note of all his detractors, and he also battles with what he calls "an addiction" to competition. Absolute must read.
"I'm Gonna Tell You What I'm Gonna Do": What It Was Like To Guard Michael Jordan, According To Craig Ehlo
Craig Ehlo, most known for his role in "The Shot," talks about what it was like to defend Jordan. Ehlo talks about "The Shot" as well as a time during the 69-point game when Jordan told him exactly what was going to happen on a play before it actually did happen.
Michael Jordan: An oral history excerpted from the Michael Jordan 2009 Hall of Fame Collector's Issue -- ESPN The Magazine - ESPN Chicago
Quotes from numerous people who have come into contact with Jordan across the years.
Jerry Reinsdorf reflects on Michael Jordan's run with Chicago Bulls - ESPN Chicago
Reinsdorf talks about Jordan's time with the Bulls as well as their current relationship, which supposedly isn't that bad.
Once a kid, Jordan played for the love of the game | THE OFFICIAL SITE OF THE CHICAGO BULLS
With Michael Jordan turning 50 years old, Sam Smith shares what truly made him the player he became and the sporting gift for so many.
The Top 50 Michael Jordan Moments: 10-1 | Ball Don't Lie - Yahoo! Sports
The top 10 Jordan moments according to Ball Don't Like. Be sure to click the other links to see the rest of the top 50.
Infographic: Michael Jordan's playoff dominance - Yahoo! Sports
From Yahoo! Sports: Michael Jordan built his legend in the playoffs and he has the stats to show for it.
Michael Jordan -- 50 memorable Air Jordan moments | The Point Forward - SI.com
The guys of The Point Forward go through their top Jordan moments.
Michael Jordan's career timeline | CSN Chicago
A timeline of the key moments in Jordan's career.
Jordan Beats Bobcats Rookie Kidd-Gilchrist In One-On-One Game " CBS Chicago
Even at 50, the old man still has it.
Jordan drafted No. 3 in 1984
Jordan's 63 points against the Celtics in 1986
Jordan vs. Nique in 1988 Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago
"The Move" in 1991 NBA Finals
The first title in 1991
"The Shrug" in 1992 NBA Finals
Father's Day title in 1996
Jordan's final shot as a Bull in 1998 NBA Finals
Jordan's Hall of Fame speech
Happy 50th M-Jeff. Now how about trading us Ben Gordon back?