Sports fans might not be able to watch live games right now due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but at least they’ve finally got something to rally around: ESPN’s epic 10-part documentary, The Last Dance, which starts on April 19. The docuseries will give fans an unprecedented look at the Chicago Bulls 1997-1998 championship team, led by legend Michael Jordan. That championship was just another feather in the cap of a man who put together probably the most impressive list of stats of anyone who’s ever played the game.
Jordan, who’s worried that The Last Dance will make him look like a “horrible guy,” is widely considered to be the greatest NBA player of all time. While there are a number of players who have won more championships than him, Jordan’s stats were unreal across the board. No other basketball player has been so dominant for such a concentrated period of time—or made such an impact on the game. On top of all that, his personality and ambition (the man changed basketball sneakers forever, obviously) sets him apart from the rest to this day.
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Ahead of ESPN’s new docuseries, here’s a look back at Michael Jordan’s impressive stats.
Michael Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game in his career—the most ever.
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Jordan wasn’t just a good scorer—he was the best scorer. Ever. His 30.1 career PPG is the highest of all time, only a few decimal points better than Wilt Chamberlain’s 30.07. The two of them stand well ahead of the next grouping, which include retirees Elgin Baylor and Jerry West, and active players LeBron James and Kevin Durant.
He scored 32,292 points total.
Michael Jordan played 15 NBA seasons over the course of 19 years; this included a mid-career pivot to playing baseball, as well as retirement following the Bulls’ 1997-1998 season, which eventually led to a strange comeback with the Washington Wizards. Over the course of those 15 seasons, though, Jordan scored a total of 32,292 career regular season points, which currently slots him in at fifth on the all-time scoring list.
Since retiring, LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant have both beat his record. But there are a couple of things to consider here: During his second season in the NBA, Jordan missed most of his games due to an injury. He missed another season entirely, between the Bulls three-peats, to play baseball. And he only played 17 games during the 1994-1995 season, when he returned to the NBA after his baseball run. The reality is that Jordan certainly could have topped the all-time list had he played during those various periods of missed time.
Jordan’s free throw percentage was .835.
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Jordan was a pristine free throw shooter, though while his .835 mark was good, it’s not really close on any records.
He took 1778 3-Pointers in his career, and made 581 of them.
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Jordan had a career .327 shooting percentage from 3-point range. Clearly, he was a capable shooter from outside, but he’s nowhere near the likes of current NBA superstars like Stephen Curry (who has a career .434 percent rate), or his coach and MJ’s former Bulls teammate Steve Kerr, whose .454 clip is the highest in league history.
He won 6 NBA championships.
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Michael Jordan has six rings. It’s the stat burned into every basketball fan’s brain, and the hallmark of every Michael vs. LeBron vs. Kobe vs. whoever debate that ever emerges. It’s all about the championships, and Jordan has got six of them. These wins come from two separate, back-to-back-to-back three peats.
Jordan got his first ring with the Chicago Bulls after the team won the title for the 1990-1991 season, followed by rings for the 1991-1992 season and the 1992-1993 season. That was the first threepeat. After two years playing baseball—when Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets won both seasons—Jordan returned to the NBA and won three more times, alongside fellow hall-of-famer Scottie Pippen. That means more rings for the 1995-1996 season, the 1996-1997 season, and the 1997-1998 season. That’s a lot of winning, huh?
There are a few players who have more rings—including Bill Russell, with 11, and Robert Horry—who have more rings, but no one’s had the combination of single-handed impact, cultural relevance, and decade-long dominance that Jordan had.
Jordan also won the NCAA Championship in 1982
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While Jordan didn’t win his first NBA championship until his seventh season in the NBA, he had his first taste of victory when the University of North Carolina Tar Heels won the NCAA title during his freshman year. That 1982 championship game saw Jordan and UNC defeat the Georgetown Hoyas, at the time led by a man that Jordan would come to face again throughout his career: New York Knicks legend Patrick Ewing.
He made 14 All Star Games, won 5 MVP Awards, 6 Finals MVP Awards, and was the 1984-1985 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Yeah. As if you needed even more stats of Jordan’s greatness, his trophy shelf at home is loaded. His six finals MVPs are by far the most of anyone in league history, pacing ahead of the three wins Tim Duncan, LeBron James, Shaquille O’Neal, and Magic Johnson each have.
And while his 14 All Star Game appearances and Rookie of the Year win are impressive, it’s his 5 MVPs that also make him special; his five wins tie him for second all-time with Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, the pair only trailing the 6 won by Lakers star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. (LeBron James and Wilt Chamberlain trail them with 4 MVPs each).
Michael Jordan’s stats are basically untouchable.
There is a reason Michael Jordan is considered the greatest of all time. He’s at or near the top of the record-breaking charts in countless categories, and the way his stats not only factored into helping the Bulls win—but win over, and over, and over again—really sets him aside from the fray.
As ESPN’s The Last Dance will surely show, there’s a lot more to Jordan than just his production on the court; he’s an intense guy through and through, and there’s always more happening than just basketball. But man, this guy was good.
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