Michael Jordan started playing basketball as a young child in North Carolina sometime between the ages of five and nine years old. Jordan’s dad James loved baseball and got his kids to play that first. But he also put a hoop in their driveway and Michael began playing against his brother Larry when he was a young boy.
Michael Jordan’s Early YearsEmbed from Getty Images
Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York on February 17, 1963. Jordan’s parents, James and Deloris, were originally from North Carolina but were living in New York when Michael was born so James could attend school.
Michael was his parents’ third son. James, called Ronnie by the family, was the oldest child. Larry was Michael’s second brother – he was only a year older and was Michael’s first playmate.
Michael Jordan also has two sisters: Deloris, called Sis by the family, was the oldest while Roslyn was born after Michael.
The family returned from New York before Roslyn was born and when Michael was still just a baby at five months old.
They would eventually settle in Wilmington, North Carolina to be close to James’ work at a General Electric plant. That was where MJ grew up. It was in Wilmington where Michael Jordan first played basketball.
Starting to Play BasketballEmbed from Getty Images
No one knows the exact date, or Michael’s age, when he first played basketball. But the family settled in Wilmington when he was five years old. By the time he was nine years old in 1972, Michael Jordan is reported to have told his mother he would one day play basketball in the Olympics.
Jordan made this bold prediction after watching the U.S. Men’s Basketball team lose to the Russians in the controversial 1972 Gold Medal match.
By this point the Jordans had a hoop in their driveway and Michael and Larry were regularly playing basketball against each other.
Michael Jordan’s first sport was baseball. He was pushed to baseball by his father James’ great love for the sport. Michael had real success with baseball at a young age.
He won the MVP for his twelve year old baseball team when they won the state little league title.
High School and BeyondEmbed from Getty Images
Michael continued to play baseball, and football, when he got to high school. Jordan played for Emsley A. Laney High School.
During high school, Jordan was famously cut from the varsity basketball team as a sophomore. He stood 5’11” at that point. After being cut, Jordan went on to star for the junior varsity team – he scored 40 or more points for the jv team on multiple occasions.
By his high school junior season, Michael Jordan grew four inches and made the varsity team. He became a star almost immediately and his focus turned solely to basketball.
By his senior year Micheal was being recruited by many colleges and was chosen to be a McDonald’s All American.
He would go on to play for the University of North Carolina and would win his first of two gold medals while in college in 1984. His second came with the 1992 Dream Team.
He would also go on to win six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. And MJ is, of course, widely seen as the greatest basketball player of all time. Many modern lists ranks His Airness and LeBron James together at the top of the lists of best basketball players of all time.
While reasonable people disagree about who is better among the two Nike-sponsored superstars, there is little doubt Jordan did more winning. LeBron’s finals record pales in comparison to MJ’s.Embed from Getty Images
Summary: When Did Michael Jordan Start Playing Basketball?
Michael Jordan started playing basketball sometime between the ages of five and nine. He started playing in his driveway with his older brother Larry. Jordan was cut from his high school varsity team as a sophomore but became a McDonald’s All American by his senior year.
I have been a Boston sports fan for more than forty years. I write about games, players and seasons from the past.