NB85-5: Michael Jordan’s rookie NBA season – Chicago, Nike sign Jordan, 1984-85 Bulls training camp and preseason games | Podcast


Rod Thorn and Michael Jordan

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s (1984) arrival in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:


* Chicago Bulls’ negotiations to sign Jordan

* Details of Nike’s efforts to secure Jordan’s signature

* Chicago Bulls’ 1984-85 training camp and preseason games


In this episode, we discuss the lead-up to the Bulls’ signing of Michael Jordan (September, 1984); including newly-discovered details that his first-pro contract may not have been what we thought it was. Thanks to Roland’s Lazenby’s, Michael Jordan: The Life and Julie Strasser’s, Swoosh: Unauthorized Story of Nike, we cover Nike’s play to obtain MJ’s signature and discuss whether or not Adidas & Converse had a real chance to lure him away. We’re also pleased to detail all seven games from Michael Jordan’s first preseason with the Chicago Bulls (October, 1984).

After listening to this, our fifth episode, you’ll be anticipating our next installment – we’ll discuss Michael Jordan’s regular-season debut – the day that NBA history would be changed forever.

The most prominent players mentioned in this episode, include: Michael Jordan, Orlando Woolridge, Caldwell Jones, Terry Cummings, Eddie Johnson & Ricky Pierce.


Topics / articles discussed (every effort has been made to confirm exact dates):


Aug 12, 1984 – Basketball: Rockets-Bulls trade

Aug 12, 1984 - Beaver County Times


Aug 16, 1984 – Wilmington’s Jordan ready to join Bulls

Aug 16, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Aug 25, 1984 – Olympic hero Jordan gets keys to hometown

Aug 25, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star

Aug 25, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Sep 12, 1984 – Bulls to sign Jordan today

Sep 12, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Sep 13, 1984 – Jordan’s signature step up for Bulls

Sep 13, 1984 - The Courier


Sep 14, 1984 – Jordan’s pact is reported even richer

Sep 14, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Oct 4, 1984 – Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer [MACC] Fund (ad)

Oct 4, 1984 - Milwaukee Sentinel


Oct 6, 1984 – Jordan leads Bulls

Oct 6, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star

 Part III: Year One — Jordan’s Rookie Season | Chicago Bulls


Oct 8, 1984 – Jordan nets 32 points, Chicago topples Kings

Oct 8, 1984 - Lawrence Journal-World


Oct 9, 1984 – No parades yet for undefeated Bulls [couldn’t locate source]

Oct 9, 1984 - Daily Herald


Oct 9, 1984 – Jordan hits 22 as Bulls bump Bucks

Oct 10, 1984 - Milwaukee Sentinel

Oct 10, 1984 - Milwaukee Sentinel


Oct 14, 1984 – Nelson pleased as Bucks win

Oct 14, 1984 - Milwaukee Journal


Oct 16, 1984 – Jordan scores 20 to lead Bulls’ win

Oct 16, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Oct 18, 1984 – Michael Jordan preseason interview @ Madison Square Garden


Oct 19, 1984 – Jordan has 23 in win

Oct 19, 1984 - Wilmington Morning Star


Oct 20, 1984 – Bulls’ preseason closes with defeat [couldn’t locate source]

Oct 20, 1984 - Daily Herald


Oct 24, 1984 – Jordan Appears to Be for Real

Oct 24, 1984 - Sarasota Herald-Tribune


Oct 26, 1984 – Olajuwon, Jordan ease into rookie spotlight

Oct 26, 1984 - Kentucky New Era


May 16, 1985 – Winning Teammates Respect Toughest Aspect for Jordan

May 16, 1985 - Victoria Advocate


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Video: Michael Jordan referees 3-on-3 – Barkley, Kidd & Finley, versus sumo wrestlers – Japan

More intriguing footage of Michael Jordan has emerged. This time, MJ and fellow Nike pals, Charles Barkley, Jason Kidd, Michael Finley and Damon Stoudamire, are in Japan, taking part in the Hoop Heroes exhibition. According to Ad Age and the Arizona Daily Star, this event took place in September of 1996. The sumo wrestlers are Akebono, Konishiki & Musashimaru. At upwards of $500 for a courtside seat, you would hope that the crowd in attendance, got their money’s worth.

In the above-clip, Jordan referees a game of 3-on-3. It starts off strong; not surprisingly, Jordan goes to work on Barkley, calling him for a touch-foul almost instantly; much to the delight of the crowd. Due to the immense size of the sumo wrestlers, Charles Barkley appears more like a svelte-looking Scottie Pippen, than his usual self.

In a prescient-moment, during the 1994 NBA season – Jordan, then-retired from the sport he had dominated – wryly-said (referring to Barkley): “There comes a time in life when you need to try something new, and sumo wrestling may be that challenge for him, you never know”

The video instantly enters the canon of rare Michael Jordan footage. It recently surfaced on YouTube, but my research suggests it originated on Vimeo – whether or not the uploader is indeed the Konishiki – who features in the clip – remains to be seen.