11. February 2013 08:49
There's more to Icons than football - which is why we're proud to have teamed up with US sports memorabilia manufacturer Upper Deck to bring you a whole new range of sporting superstars. In the coming weeks on the Icons blog we'll be introducing new names to our roster, starting today with the incredible Michael Jordan...
It's strange to think that NBA legend Michael Jordan will be turning 50 this Sunday (17 February). Like the similarly age defying Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes some sportsmen just seem like time doesn't apply to them. Jordan was 40 before he finally hung up those famous Nike Airs, by which time the face of not just basketball but sport as a whole had been changed forever.
One of the most devestating talents to ever be let loose on the NBA, Jordan's transformative impact on the sport went way beyond his skills on the court - though those weren't to be balked at. The Brooklyn-born athlete was gifted from an early age, slam dunking his way onto NBA coaches' radars with his exploits for the University of North Carolina, for whom he secured a prestigious NCAA Title in 1982. What followed was a glittering career at the top of the sport, guiding his famous Chicago Bulls to six brilliant NBA titles and winning MVP honors five times.
But Jordan was perhaps the first name in sport to become more than an athlete - he was a megastar. There was a sense of the impossible with Jordan. Nothing was beyond him on the court and as his career progressed, he appeared increasingly unstoppable in other areas. Multi-million dollar endorsement deals worth money the likes of which sportsmen had seldom seen before? Tick. A move across into baseball? Check. Starring in a Hollywood blockbuster alongside Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck? Why not? Jordan ended his career as one of the most famous faces of the 21st century and perhaps the first modern global superstar, paving the way for the careers of David Beckham, Usain Bolt and more.
Despite his celebrity and his sprawling media empire, sport remains Jordan's keenest concern, even as he approaches half a century of worldbeating - he'll be hoping his 50th birthday present comes in the form of a string of wins for his beloved Charlotte Bobcats NBA team, of whom he is the now the owner...
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