On October 26, 1984, one of the greatest athletes in the history of sports had made his professional debut. It was on this day that the Chicago Bulls hosted the Washington Bullets in the NBA. Michael Jordan, the Bulls first round pick, makes his debut on this day in front of the home crowd.
Jordan scored 16 points in his debut as the Bulls beat Washington 109-93. He also had six rebounds and seven assists in helping the Bulls win in his debut game. This was only the beginning for his dominance in the NBA.
The Bulls got out to a 7-2 start in 1984-85, and it was in his ninth game that he scored 40 points or more in a game for the first time when he had 45 against San Antonio. He would go on to score 40 or more in a game seven times on the season. His game-high on the season was 49 points on February 12 against the Detroit Pistons in a 139-126 victory.
Jordan also had three triple-doubles, and perhaps his best all-around game during his rookie year was against the Denver Nuggets at home when he had 35 points, 14 rebounds, and 15 assists in a 122-113 win. The Bulls did slump after a hot start which included only winning two games in the entire month of February.
Jordan finished the season averaging 28.2 points p/g, 6.5 rebounds p/g, and 5.9 assists p/g. His performance earned him Rookie of the Year for the season as well as first NBA All-Rookie Team honors. He also made the All-Star team when he had seven points, six rebounds, and two assists in 22 minutes of play.
Chicago made the playoffs with a 38-44 record, but were knocked out by the Milwaukee Bucks in four games. Jordan averaged 29.3 points p/g in those four games with a game-high 35 in the Bulls Game 3 win.
Jordan would eventually help Chicago to become one of the most dominant dynasties in the history of sports in the 1990s. The Bulls would win six NBA Titles in eight years with a pair of three-peats in between Jordan's first retirement from the game. Also Jordan is widely considered by many to be the best player in NBA history. He was very well-known for his contract with Nike throughout his career which brought the "Air Jordan" era to the forefront.
On this same day, John Stockton made his debut for the Utah Jazz in a 102-94 loss at Seattle. Charles Barkley also debuted for the Philadelphia Sixers in a 111-101 home win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The very next day, No. 1 overall pick Hakeem Olajuwon debuted for the Houston Rockets in 122-111 win over the Dallas Mavericks. Because of these four players, many consider the 1984 NBA Draft the best ever. All of these Hall of Fame bound players made the 50 Greatest NBA Players of All-Time list with Jordan being named No. 1 overall.
The No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft had begun his rise to being the most recognized and one of the most influential athletes in sports history on this day. The Jordan era forever changed the NBA as well as the city of Chicago and the Bulls franchise. Many publications named him the No. 1 athlete of the 20th Century which includes ESPN's SportsCentury panel of experts.
Here is today's other FSD History Flashback: October 26, 1985 Game 6 of the World Series
Photo courtesy of SI magazine which shows Jordan on the December 10, 1984 cover date.
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