Jordan played basketball at Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina. He was cut from the varsity team as a sophomore. Some players would be defeated by this, as I was my sophomore year when I was cut from my varsity squad, but not Michael Jordan.
He used this failure as motivation and made sure that he would never be cut again. "Whenever I was working out and got tired and figured I ought to stop, I'd close my eyes and see that list in the locker room without my name on it," Jordan said, "and that usually got me going again."
When Michael Jordan made the team the following year, he led the team to the championship. MJ went on to play basketball under scholarship at the University of North Carolina. Jordan established himself in the national championship game of 1982 as a freshman, when he scored the game-winning basket against the Georgetown Hoyas.
Jordan was selected college player of the year in the 1983-84 season, and he led the United States of America's Men's Basketball Team to an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics under coach Bobby Knight.
In 1984 Michael Jordan entered the NBA draft where he was selected third in the draft. Yes, you read that correctly—third. The first pick of the draft that year was by the Houston Rockets. They selected Hakeem Olajuwon, who is now in the Hall of Fame beside Jordan. The second pick was by Portland who took Sam Bowie. You have to seriously question Portland's scouts' ability to recognize pure talent.
The Chicago Bulls who selected Jordan third overall that year had won only 28 games the previous season and were in desperate need of a star player to save them from themselves. Jordan became just that. He made an immediate impact in the NBA and for the Bulls franchise. In his rookie season, Jordan finished as one of the top scorers in the league, averaging 28.2 ppg, was named to the All-Star team and was crowned Rookie of the Year.
Not bad for a guy who was cut his sophomore year in High School.
Michael Jordan immediately turned around the Bulls franchise and took them to the playoffs ever year but came up short every year. In 1991, Jordan finally led his team to the NBA Finals where they proceeded to win the first of three consecutive NBA Championships (1991, 1992 and 1993).
All of this was done before Kobe was even a twinkle or a thought in the basketball world.