ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Michael Jordan and the NCAA Championship Game

Updated on May 20, 2012

A Legend in Chicago...and North Carolina

Jordan's jersey hanging from the rafters in North Carolina
Jordan's jersey hanging from the rafters in North Carolina | Source

More on Michael Jordan

One Night in 82

Long before he ever pulled on his famous Chicago Bulls jersey, Michael Jordan introduced himself to the wider American public in the most dramatic way. Ultimately it would turn out to be a career defining moment, and it occurred at the end of 1982’s edition of March Madness, or to call it by its more official name, the NCAA Championship game.

In 1982, the North Carolina Tar Heels were already a top ranked team, their head coach Dean Smith was already a collegiate legend, and in Sam Perkins and James Worthy they possessed two of the best young players in the country; ultimately both men would go on to have successful NBA careers, notably with the LA Lakers. 1982 though, would mark the arrival of a bright fresh faced young man from Wilmington named Michael Jeffrey Jordan who impressed almost instantly with his skill and work ethic. Smith, watched the young Jordan in practice sessions, and was impressed enough to grant the young man a place in his starting five alongside the more established names. Jordan especially excelled during the one on one drills, leading the clearly amazed Smith to recall later: ‘We didn’t have anybody who could guard him.’

Fast forward to the final minutes of that championship game on the 29th March against the Georgetown Hoyas, and their coach, John Thompson was probably scratching his head, thinking the same thing as his counterpart, as he watched MJ hit three of North Carolina’s last five field goals, and set up the other two with a rebound and a steal. He recorded 12 of his 16 point total in the second half.

Of course, to most people such detailed stats are irrelevant, what most people remember, even to this day is the last shot launched from 16 feet out with just fifteen seconds left, to give the Tar Heels a 63-62 lead over the Hoyas and their equally impressive freshman, one Patrick Ewing. The score held, Georgetown wasted their opportunity to respond when Georgetown guard mistakenly passed to James Worthy thinking he was his team mate, Eric ‘Sleepy’ Floyd.

Ten years later, Michael returned to the scene of his first triumph in basketball for an exhibition game. At the time, he was in a celebratory mood once more, for his Chicago Bulls had just captured the second championship in as many years. He took a moment to gaze high into the rafters of the enormous Superdome in New Orleans, the only words he could utter were ‘Left corner, sixty three thousand fans.’ He also remarked that it was the shot that propelled his career.

It seems ironic that Jordan is still the face associated with that game today, because it was in fact James Worthy that was North Carolina’s star man, he scored 28 points in the final and picked up the MVP award for the whole tournament. But it was MJ that answered the Tar Heels call in the last dozen possessions, pulling down 9 rebounds, including crucially, two from missed free throws.

Setting up the Shot

Okay, so let’s rewind two and a half minutes and explain just how MJ came to hit that now very famous shot. Michael manages to hit a rainbow shot right over the looming bear like arm of Patrick Ewing to give North Carolina a three point cushion. But Georgetown soon came roaring back and retook the lead, 62-61 with just under a minute to go. The Tar Heels worked the ball up court, then opted for a time out with just thirty two seconds left.

Coach Smith gathered the team together for the huddle and considered his options carefully. He knew that his opposite number would target both Worthy and Perkins. Patrick Ewing was an intimidating presence down at the post. So Smith, being the wily old veteran of four previous finals with North Carolina decides to put North Carolina’s season squarely in the hands of a freshman, Michael Jordan. The final play commenced with Jordan exchanging passes with guard Jimmy Black, before Black whipped a cutting pass to Matt Doherty who returned it back to the guard before making the crosscourt dish to Michael who knocked down the biggest shot of his career up to that point. That shot helped set in motion an almost unmatched ability to hit pressure shots in the biggest games. For his part, MJ had managed to shake off the nervousness that had plagued him during the first half.

The Championship Game in Brief

Visualisation

Later on, even when the young freshman had already transformed himself into the global megastar we all know today, he would still hark back to that famous night in 1982 to reassure both himself and his Chicago teammates whenever they encountered tight moments in playoff games. This was a fact confirmed by Bulls coach Phil Jackson, who actively encouraged his players to use visualisation techniques, as a means of achieving their goals. To put it quite simply, if MJ had missed that shot on the 29th March 1982, he probably wouldn’t have developed into the legendary player so familiar to us all today.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JKenny profile imageAUTHOR

      James Kenny 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, England

      Certainly was! Thanks for popping by.

    • jeolmoz2 profile image

      Julio E Olmo Sr 

      5 years ago from Florida, USA

      That was a defining moment in his career and a preview of things to come

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)