Michael Jordan’s ascent to greatness debuted to the public on Monday, March 29, 1982 on the court inside the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. His three-year career at Carolina produced memorable moments and accolades that fill the UNC record books.
Take a look at the statistics, records, and honors earned each year and over the course of Jordan’s collegiate career.
Michael Jordan 1981-82 Stats
Jordan became the fourth first-game freshman starter in UNC history when he stepped on the court on Saturday, November 28, 1981 in Charlotte versus Kansas. The Tar Heels won the opener 74-67, starting a 13-game winning streak to begin their championship season. Jordan was one of just 11 first-game starters under Coach Dean Smith.
The Tar Heels defeated Georgia Tech, NC State, and Virginia in consecutive days to earn the ACC Tournament Championship at the Greensboro Coliseum. Jordan was named to the First-Team All-ACC Tournament Team after averaging 11.7 points and three rebounds in those three games.
Everyone knows what happens next. Here is a clip of “The Shot.” It might be lower quality than other videos, but the audio will be a warm, familiar voice (unlike the television broadcast with Billy Packer). Take a look and listen below:
Jordan was named to the 1982 All-Final Four Team after averaging 17 points and seven rebounds. He was named the ACC Freshman of the Year and was named a Freshman All-American by Basketball Weekly and NBC.
At the team awards that year, Jordan was the Butch Bennet Award Winner. Via UNC Athletics, the award is “given to the freshman who exemplified determination, sportsmanship and sacrifice for the good of the team. Given in memory of Butch Bennett, a member of the 1967-68 freshman team, who died of leukemia.”
Michael Jordan 1982-83 Stats
In Jordan’s sophomore season, he led the team in scoring and with Sam Perkins was one of the top pairs in UNC history. His 721 points that season are the seventh-most in a single season in Carolina history and most by any UNC sophomore. Tack on 593 points scored by Perkins, and their 1,314 combined points are the fifth highest scoring duo in school history.
Jordan had 78 steals that year, tied for fourth in the single season at UNC. His 282 made field goals are the sixth-highest for a Tar Heel in a single season.
The most steals by a UNC player versus Syracuse was set on Saturday, January 8, 1983 by Jordan. In the 87-64 victory, he recorded four steals. This total was later matched by Jeff Lebo, Marcus Paige, and Joel Berry II.
Eight days later, Jordan tied the single game steals record for a Carolina player versus Virginia. He had six steals against the Cavaliers, matching the amount Al Wood set two years prior.
On January 29, 1983, Jordan set his career collegiate high versus Georgia Tech. He dropped 39 on the Yellow Jackets in a 72-65 victory at the Greensboro Coliseum.
Jordan won ACC Player of the Week five times during his career. Three of those honors came during the 1983 season. After UNC’s exit from the ACC Tournament at The Omni in Atlanta, he was named to the Second-Team All-ACC Tournament Team.
In their season ending loss to Georgia in the NCAA Tournament, Jordan scored 26 to lead all players. He was named to the 1983 East Regional Team.
After the season, Jordan was named the 1983 National Player of the Year from the Sporting News. He earned the first of two Consensus First-Team All-American and First-Team All-ACC selections. Along with Sam Perkins, he was named the team’s Co-MVP.
Michael Jordan 1983-84 Stats
Playing on one of the best Carolina teams in history, Jordan led the team in scoring for the second consecutive season. The 1983-84 Tar Heels are one of only eight teams in the history of the ACC to be undefeated in regular season conference play. However, this team had two of the most disappointing losses by such a great team. The first in the ACC Tournament semifinals and the next in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament.
On February 18, 1984, Jordan set the record for most UNC steals versus NC State with six takeaways. This was later tied by George Lynch in 1993.
In the opener of the NCAA Tournament, Jordan scored 27 points versus Temple. That mark remains the highest single-game scorer for Carolina versus Temple.
Jordan was named twice the ACC Player of the Week in 1984, and was again named to the Second-Team All-ACC Tournament Team and First-Team All-ACC. Only 18 UNC players have been multiple selections to the All-ACC First Team, ten of which were named twice like Jordan. He was named the 1984 ACC Player of the Year and 1984 ACC Athlete of the Year.
Once again, Jordan was a Consensus First-Team All-American in 1984. Like the First-Team All-ACC selections, there have been 18 Consensus First-Team All-American Tar Heels with 13 of those earning the honor twice.
Jordan was named the 1984 Consensus National Player of the Year. He is one of four Tar Heels to earn this honor with Phil Ford, Antawn Jamison, and Tyler Hansbrough.
The team again named Jordan and Perkins Co-MVPs, and Jordan was given the Carmichael-Cobb Award. Via UNC athletics, “given by Whit Cobb in memory of All-Americas Cartwright Carmichael and Jack Cobb. Awarded to the outstanding defensive player based on coaches’ grades.”
Check out Jordan’s highlight reel from the 1983-84 season as narrated by Dean Smith and Woody Durham:
Michael Jordan Career UNC Stats
After the 1984 season, Jordan was named to the Olympic team. He is the only Tar Heel to win two Olympic Gold medals in men’s basketball (1984 and 1992), and leads all UNC alums in games (16), points (356), and most points in a game (24 in 1984 against Spain).
Jordan was selected 3rd overall in the 1984 NBA Draft. He is one of 47 Carolina players selected in the first round.
Jordan’s 1983 National Player of the Year selection from the Sporting News and his 1984 Consensus National Player of the Year qualified for the retiring of his number. Jordan’s #23 is one of eight retired jerseys hanging in the Smith Center rafters.
Jordan ranks 14th in career points at Carolina with 1,788. Joel Berry II (1,835) moved ahead of him this season, and Berry ended his career just one point behind Bobby Lewis. Jordan’s 17.7 career-scoring average is 12th all-time at UNC.
With the 1982 National Championship and six NBA Championships, he is one of three UNC players to accomplish both, along with James Worthy and Danny Green.
In 2002, Jordan was one of 12 Tar Heels named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team, more than any other ACC school. During these 50th anniversary celebrations, he was named the top male athlete in ACC history.
Jordan was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009 and is one of nine Tar Heels in the hall, including Roy Williams, Dean Smith, Larry Brown, Billy Cunningham, James Worthy and Bob McAdoo.
The next year, Jordan was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. He is One of 17 UNC players or coaches inducted into the NCSHF.
We’ll leave you with one more highlight reel: