It's been more than 30 years since Michael Jordan made his Chicago Bulls debut. In the time since, he has stamped himself as perhaps the most iconic sports figure in history. Here is a look at the most iconic moments of Jordan's illustrious career.
1982: Bursting on the scene
Michael Jordan introduced himself to the basketball public as a North Carolina freshman when he made the winning jumper against Georgetown in the 1982 national championship game. He went on to make two All-America teams before going pro after his junior season.
1986: Jordan burns Boston
After missing 64 games with a broken foot in his second season, Jordan returned and helped the 30-52 Bulls somehow make the playoffs. Against a powerhouse Celtics team in the first round, he scored 62 points in Game 2 at Boston Garden, an NBA playoff record that still stands. Boston still swept Chicago.
1987: Slam Dunk king
Jordan won the dunk contest at the All-Star game in 1987, establishing himself as the game's premier leaper back when the competition meant something.
1988: All-Star Weekend
Winning the dunk contest for a second year in a row was not the crowning achievement of Jordan’s ’88 All-Star weekend. Jordan scored 40 points in the game and was named MVP. Nike also introduced the Jordan 3, his first true signature shoe. It ranks among the top of individual weekends for any athlete.
1988-90: Can't get past Pistons
For three straight years, Jordan led the league in scoring but ran into the same roadblock in the playoffs. The Detroit Pistons eliminated the Bulls each season by ganging up on Jordan and playing him physically — one reason he decided to bulk up as his career progressed.
1989: The Shot
This was the moment that started it all. Jordan's buzzer-beater against the Cavs in the 1989 playoffs served notice this wasn't just a dynamic offensive player — he was a steely eyed basketball assassin that refused to lose. The true beginning of the Jordan era as a champion.
1991: Championship No. 1
Jordan finally broke through in his seventh season, leading the Bulls to a sweep of the Pistons in the Eastern Conference finals and victory over the Lakers in five games to win his first NBA title.
1992: The Shrug
Game 1 of the 1992 Finals, MJ sets an NBA record by hitting six treys in the first half. After his sixth money ball, Michael looks courtside and shrugs his shoulders as if to say, "I can't explain it either, guys."
1992: Championship No. 2
Clyde Drexler was a great shooting guard in his own right, but Jordan proved there was really no comparison. He scored 35 points in the first half of Game 1, shrugging after his sixth 3-pointer, and the Bulls ended up beating the Blazers in six games.
1992: Olympic glory
As part of the first Dream Team, Jordan teamed with the likes of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in claiming Olympic gold. More than two decades later, it's still considered the greatest team ever assembled.
1993: Championship No. 3
Charles Barkley won the MVP in his first season with the Suns and appeared ready to dethrone Jordan and the Bulls, but MJ averaged 41 points in the Finals and got some help from John Paxson, who buried the Series-clinching jumper at the end of Game 6.
1994: Switching sports
After his father's death and controversy about his gambling losses, Jordan made a shocking decision to retire from basketball and give baseball a shot. His career in the Chicago White Sox farm system didn't last long for the same reason many baseball players have failed — he couldn't hit a curveball.
1995: Welcome back
Jordan's first retirement ended on March 18, 1995, with a two-word press release: "I'm back." He proved it 10 days later by scoring 55 on the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, but the Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals.
1996: Championship No. 4
Motivated by the loss to the Magic and helped by the addition of Dennis Rodman, the Bulls set an NBA record with 72 wins in 1996 and lost only three playoff games in four series. The Sonics were no match in the Finals as Jordan completed a sweep of the regular-season, All-Star game and Finals MVP awards.
1997: Championship No. 5
Jordan and the Bulls were nearly as dominant in 1997 as they were the year before, finishing with 69 wins and rolling to another title. The biggest test came in the Finals against the Utah Jazz and Karl Malone, who won the MVP award that season. But Jordan responded with the game-winning jumper in Game 1 and 38 points with the flu in Game 5 before closing out the Jazz in Game 6.
1997 championship parade
Celebrating his fifth title, Jordan stood with four of the men who helped him achieve such success: Dennis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper and Phil Jackson.
1998: Championship No. 6
Jordan completed his Bulls career with this game-winning shot against the Jazz at the end of Game 6, capping off a 45-point night and the second three-peat of his career.
2001: Another comeback
After returning to the NBA in 2000 as part-owner and president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards, Jordan decided he wasn't done playing yet. He played two seasons for the Wizards, averaging more than 20 points even at the age of 40, but the team didn't make the playoffs and a frustrated Jordan retired for good
2006-present: Back in Carolina
Jordan played a lot of golf after the Wizards fired him as a team executive in 2003, but he returned to the league as part-owner and "Managing Member of Basketball Operations" for the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006. Despite being in a management position for the Bobcats, his greatest legacy will always be as a player and corporate pitchman, not as a corporate suit.