Between Michael Jordan's legacy and Carmelo Anthony's MVP campaign there will be plenty for the two to discuss this weekend. When the two have conversations there's a fine line that must be carefully navigated because Jordan is both an owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, an on-the-court competitor of Anthony's, and also his boss off-the-court since Anthony is signed to Nike's Jordan Brand. However, with Anthony in town to play in his sixth All-Star Game he will also be attending his mentor's 50th Birthday party.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan is widely thought of as the greatest basketball player of all time. He was a 6'6", 216 pound shooting guard from Brooklyn, New York who attended Emsley A. Laney high school in Wilmington, North Carolina. He went on to play college ball at North Carolina from 1981-84 and was drafted third overall by the Chicago Bulls in the 1984 NBA Draft.
Jordan played for the Bulls from 1984-93, retired and then re-joined the Bulls from 1995-98, retired again and then joined the Washington Wizards from 2001-03.
He won an NCAA championship in 1982. He was a two time NCAA All-American First Team player in 1983 and 1984. He won the Adolph Rupp Trophy and the John R. Wooden Award, was named the Naismith College Player of the Year, won the Oscar Robertson Trophy and was named ACC Player of the Year in 1984.
He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year, was named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and the All-NBA Second Team in 1985. He won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1987 and 1988, was a nine time NBA All-Defensive First Team player (1988-93, 1996-98), a ten time All-NBA First Team player (1987-93, 1996-98), a three time NBA steals champion (1988, 1990, 1993) and a ten time NBA scoring champion (1987-93, 1996-98).
Jordan was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1988, was a three time NBA All-Star Game MVP (1988, 1996, 1998), a fourteen time NBA All-Star (1985-93, 1996-98, 2002-03), a five time NBA Most Valuable Player (1988, 1991-92, 1996, 1998), a six time NBA champion (1991-93, 1996-98) and a six time NBA Finals MVP (1991-93, 1996-98).
In his career Jordan scored 32,292 points (30.1 ppg), had 6,672 rebounds (6.2 rpg) and recorded 5,633 assists (5.3 apg). Additionally, he helped win gold for Team USA at Caracas in 1983 at the Pan American Games, a gold medal at the Olympics for Team USA in 1984 at Los Angeles, gold for Team USA at the FIBA Americas Championships in 1992 at Portland and a gold medal at the Olympics for Team USA in 1992 at Barcelona.
To say the least, he's been a success in the basketball world. He's found less success as an owner but has remained very popular with fans around the world and todays players. He was honored by having his #23 retired by the Chicago Bulls in 1994 and also had a half-Chicago Bulls, half-Wizards jersey retired by the Miami Heat in 2003. Furthermore, Jordan was named to the NBA's 50th Anniversary All-Time Team. Now he'll be celebrating his 50 years on this earth on NBA All-Star weekend.
Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork reports Anthony is unsure what to do for the man who has everything. Also, despite knowing he's been signed to Jordan Brand for 10 years, and that Jordan was retired from his stint with the Wizards before Anthony entered the NBA, Jordan being 50 is mind boggling to the Knicks All-Star.
Anthony doesn't have anything special planned for MJ — "He has everything," Melo said, smiling — but being in attendance at the private party, hosted by Jordan Brand, will be special.
"I think more than anything just being there with him, having fun with him, enjoying that birthday, that moment," he told ESPNNewYork.com on Tuesday. "Just to say that we were there as part of his brand, as some of his students, to be able to participate with him for his 50th birthday, is incredible."
Anthony — whose status to play Sunday is unclear because of an arm contusion — can't believe Jordan is turning 50.
"It doesn't even seem like that," he said. "I mean, he's so relevant still right now at the age of 50 in our world, in everybody's world. Little kids still know him. They might not have even seen Michael Jordan play a game before, but they know who he is. It's his relevance that keeps him out there."
It is a surreal thought to realize that Michael Jordan is now 50 years old. It doesn't seem that long ago that he was giving thrilling performances night in and night out. He is probably the single biggest reason Patrick Ewing was never able to follow through with his promises of bringing a title back to Madison Square Garden. It's because of all those high scoring and heart breaking performances that Knicks fans love to hate Jordan. However, he has the respect of each and every member of the Knicks nation.
It's easy to see the similarities in Jordan and Anthony's games. They are both volume shooters and elite scorers. They both had a post game, a mid-range game, three-point range, could catch-and-shoot or create their own shot off the dribble and they both wanted the ball in their hands in crunch-time.
Obviously Jordan took his game to a higher level than Anthony has been able to reach thus far in his career and was a far superior defensive player but their styles on offense are not that dissimilar. However, Anthony certainly has work to do before he can surpass Jordan's total of six rings.