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Michael Jordan: His Impact on Basketball, the Bulls, and Chicago

Michael Jordan's world-renowned levels of stardom proved to be the catalyst in altering the culture of the NBA and the city of Chicago.
Photo: John Swart/AP

Photo: John Swart/AP

Throughout his illustrious career, Michael Jordan established himself as arguably the greatest basketball player of all time. Fundamentally, few can argue against this, with the now 57-year-old having had a significant impact on both the sport of basketball and the city of Chicago.

Despite deciding to retire for good back in 2003, the former six-foot-six shooting guard continues to have an undeniable impact within the court-based game. So, let’s take a look at how Jordan influenced Chicago and its sporting scene.

Changing the Game

In an era where the National Basketball Association needed a catalyst, Jordan stepped up and completely revolutionized basketball. Having made his rookie season with the Chicago Bulls in 1984, the 14-time NBA All-Star would go on to transform the style and substance of basketball. Crucially, he did this by expanding the meaning and scope of athletic achievement, according to The Undefeated. From an on-court standpoint, Jordan was responsible for the globalization of basketball, which can be somewhat attributed to his unrivaled athleticism.

Photo: mccarmona23/Flickr

Photo: mccarmona23/Flickr

Moreover, aside from his impact on basketball's global appeal, Jordan also altered the NBA’s Center Position. The six-time NBA champion had the influence to modernize the sport's rules, and thus was pivotal in helping to tailor the game's contemporary outlook around seeking to replicate his dominance, as per an article by Bleacher Report.

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While, of course, much of Jordan’s success relates to his natural ability, few can ignore that his star-studded progression was also a testament to his work ethic. In an era where sports science was yet to impact athletic ability, the 57-year-old's focused mindset and willingness to work took him to the pinnacle of basketball. This is evident through documented stories by old teammates that state how he used to work equally as hard in training as he did during competitive games.

A Legacy That Stretches Far Beyond Sport

During their reign of dominance, which took place between 1991 and 1998, Sports Illustrated states that the Bulls and Jordan provided the world with a new meaning for superstardom. However, it wasn’t just on a global level that Air Jordan was having an unprecedented impact. Fundamentally, his world-renowned levels of stardom proved to be the catalyst in altering the culture of Chicago. In winning six championships with the Bulls in the 1990s, Jordan brought a winning attitude and loyalty that had been unheard of in the NBA.

Furthermore, from a purely financial standpoint, there was an expectation among economists that, following his short-term retirement in 1993, Chicago’s economy could have been severely impacted. Importantly, this showcases the marketing appeal of Jordan. Additionally, the six-time NBA All-Star created the Michael Jordan Foundation in 1989, which was aimed at improving local education.

Even though Air Jordan would end his career with the Washington Wizards, who are, as of July 3rd, +25000 in the basketball betting to win the NBA Championship in 2020, his legacy will always be associated with the Chicago Bulls. The New York-born star will be remembered for many years to come, not just for his on-court performances, but also for his charitable nature and marketability.

Singlehandedly Creating a Winning Culture

Ultimately, the NBA will be forever indebted to Jordan for turning professional basketball into a global phenomenon. That said, aside from the sport, the city of Chicago will also be eternally grateful for the Bulls taking a chance on Air Jordan back in 1984. The widely-regarded greatest basketball player of all time changed the culture of top-level sport, highlighting the importance of hard work and a winning mentality.