THE JORDAN PHENOMENON
June 15, 1998
Last night the Bulls won their sixth Championship in eight years. The winning shot was, once again, scored by Michael Jordan. What makes Jordan such a dominant player, both on the court and in the marketplace? After this background report, Phil Ponce leads a discussion on Jordan's enduring greatness.
PHIL PONCE: Last night in Utah, another classic Michael Jordan performance.
A RealAudio version of this segment is available.
June 15, 1998
A discussion of Michael Jordan's dominance on and off the court.
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BOB COSTAS, NBC: --Here comes Chicago-17 seconds-17 seconds from game seven or from championship number six. Jordan-open-Chicago with the lead!
PHIL PONCE: With a victory over the Utah jazz, perhaps the most famous athlete in the world had just led his team to its sixth NBA championship in eight years.
MICHAEL JORDAN: The moment starts to become the moment, you know, for me. Once you get in the moment you know when you're there, you just-things start to move slowly; you start to see the court very well. You start reading what the defense is trying to do, and I saw that. I saw that moment, and, you know, when I saw the moment, the opportunity to take advantage of it, when Russell reached, and I took advantage of that moment, and I never doubted myself, I never doubted the whole game.
Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.
PHIL PONCE: Jordan's basketball beginnings were not promising. He was actually cut from his high school basketball team in Wilmington, North Carolina, his sophomore year. He eventually made the team and led it to the state championship.
Many fans got their first glimpse of Jordan's talent in 1982. That's when--as a freshman at the University of North Carolina--he scored the game winning shot against Georgetown to win the national collegiate championship.
Fans loved Jordan from the start and so did advertisers. Nike signed him to a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal to promote a show inspired by Jordan called "The Air Jordan." The current model costs $150. And it's not just sneakers that have had the Jordan stamp of approval-there's Coca-Cola, Wheaties, Oakley Sunglasses, Ray-O-Vac Batteries, and Gatorade.
Jordan teamed up with Bugs Bunny in 1996 in the animated feature film "Space Jam." So far it's made $439 million worldwide. His name seems to be everywhere. There's Michael Jordan Cologne, which has grossed more than $155 million-and this year, his own line of clothing. And the so-called Jordan effect rubbed off on others. He's credited with boosting TV ratings for NBA games. And NBA merchandise is selling at record levels, with Jordan's jersey the most sought after item. One study-reported recently in Fortune Magazine-estimates Jordan has generated more than $10 billion for the U.S. economy.
After winning his third straight NBA title in 1993, there were troubles. Jordan's father was killed by armed robbers in North Carolina. The NBA began an investigation into allegations that Jordan had illegally bet on NBA games.
He was eventually cleared. And Jordan was caught up in the controversy caused by allegations that some Nike sports shoes made in Asia were manufactured in sweatshop conditions. In 1993, Jordan surprised his fans by announcing he was hanging up his Air Jordans.
Deloris and James Jordan, Michael Jordan's parents.
MICHAEL JORDAN: When I lose the sense of motivation and the sense of to prove something as a basketball player, it's time for me to move away from the game of basketball.
PHIL PONCE: After a brief and unsuccessful attempt at professional baseball, Jordan returned to the NBA in 1995. It was as if he'd never left. Last night's 45 point performance helped the Bulls win their third championship in a row since Jordan's return. And this year, amid speculation he'll retire for good, he was named the NBA's most valuable player for the fifth time and won his 10th scoring title.