Michael Jordan was not only the greatest in his era but was also the biggest show in town. His presence on the basketball court provided immense entertainment value. There was something about him that turned fans into a frenzy and kept them coming for more. However, Jordan’s ability to entertain was not limited to the NBA. In the book, ‘Michael Jordan: The Life‘, author Roland Lazenby discusses how the NBA player’s need to entertain stemmed from a young age.
The six-time NBA champion was born in a family of four siblings, and he was the fourth child. Michael had two elder brothers (James Jordan Jr and Larry Jordan), an elder sister (Deloris Jordan), and a younger sister (Roslyn Jordan). In the book, the author mentions the family dynamics and writes, “Sis, the older girl in the family, recalled that her parents had their favorites. She and Larry were her father’s pets, while Ronnie and little Mike—born just eleven months apart—could do no wrong in their mother’s eyes. Roz, the baby of the family, had everyone’s undivided affection.”
As a kid in a family of seven people, children might feel that they are not getting the attention they need. Similarly, a young Michael Jordan wanted to be the centre of attention and try hard to entertain people. Whether it be dancing or singing, Jordan did it all.
“Young Michael Jordan faced much competition for attention in that busy household, and a lifelong dynamic was set in place. He was always eager to please—first his parents and family, and later his coaches and an adoring public.”
The five-time league MVP’s elder sister – Deloris Jordan (Sis), talks about growing up with a young Michael in a large household and his neverending need to please. She quotes in the book, “He mastered the art of entertaining and spent hours amusing us,” remembered Sis of those early years. “Dancing, singing, teasing, or whatever it took to bring a smile, grin, or laugh, he did. And never content to play by himself, he always needed an audience and would not let us ignore him no matter how hard we tried.”
Credits: USA Today Sports
Michael Jordan’s personality would carry on to the NBA, and his relentless nature would make him the greatest player in the world.
Michael Jordan’s entertainment value in the NBA
As mentioned by Michael’s sister, his need to bring smiles to faces began at a very young age. He carried the same charisma through adulthood and made it a part of his game. When the NBA superstar started to gain popularity in the league, the tricks began to come out of the bag. And the fans loved every bit of it. He had become their number-one entertainer and made them his own.
Everyone knew the player’s basketball abilities, but what stood out was his talent to awe the audience. The way he palmed the ball to his gravity-defying dunks, Jordan did it all. Unlike superstars of today, Jordan participated in the All-Star dunk contest and gave the audience an unforgettable performance. With Magic Johnson also entertaining the crowd through ‘Showtime’ basketball in the 1980s, the landscape of the NBA was changing fast. It had become a global spectacle.