Michael Jordan turns 61 on Saturday. Yes, you read that right. Michael Jordan, the once larger than life athlete who defied gravity en route to becoming one of the world's most recognizable figures has now taken 61 trips around the sun. 

Time slows down for no one, but it has not dimmed Jordan's shine or star power. Jordan received the loudest ovation of any legend during the celebration of the NBA's 75th Anniversary Team during the 2022 All-Star Game. Go to any gym, playground or school across the country, and you will find one of Jordan's signatures shoes on more feet than any other player's shoes, past or present. 

Jordan's impact on basketball and society are intertwined. Along with starring on the hardwood, Jordan starred has been a fixture on screens for decades. His commercials are some of television's most iconic. He's been the subject of several documentaries including the Emmy-winning docuseries, "The Last Dance," that provided much-needed entertainment during the early days of the pandemic. And lest you forget, there's also the popular crying Jordan meme.

LeBron James recently taking over the scoring title from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saw the emergence of a new round of GOAT conversations. But there's no doubt that Jordan's presence on and off the floor lifted the NBA game into a global business and revolutionized how athletes would go on to create their own brands and followings. So in celebration of his birthday, here are 61 unique facts on MJ. 

1. The Miami Heat did what? Despite never playing for them, Jordan's 23 jersey was retired by the Miami Heat. Now that's respect. 

2. Jordan actually had his jersey un-retired. Following Jordan's 1993 retirement from the NBA, the Bulls retired Jordan's 23 jersey and gave him a statue following his first retirement. But the jersey was un-retired when Jordan returned to the NBA in 1995. The statue, however, remained outside the United Center during the entirely of his second run with the Bulls. The bottom of the statue reads "The best there ever was. The best there ever will be." 

3 Jordan was fined (several times) for showing up for work as a rookie. Perhaps hard to believe now, but Jordan's first signature shoe that he wore as a rookie was in violation of the NBA's uniform policy, resulting in a $5,000 fine every time he wore them during a game. Nike wisely used this to market the shoes, thus making the upstart kicks even more popular. 

4. It's gotta be the shoes! In February, 2024, Sotheby's reported that the "Dynasty Collection, a trove of six of Jordan's game-worn shoes -- one from the final game of each of his NBA Finals appearances -- sold for an astounding $8 million. (Could Mars have been right all along?)

5. Not ready for prime time. The story about Jordan being cut from his high school varsity basketball team is only part of the story. Yes, Jordan did not make the varsity squad as a sophomore at Laney High School, but he did star on the team during his junior and senior years after spending his sophomore year on the junior varsity. His play as a senior -- and during a camp held by North Carolina -- convinced legendary coach Dean Smith to offer him a scholarship. 

6. The day Mike became Michael. Jordan's rise to stardom began at the 1982 NCAA Championship Game. Trailing powerful Georgetown late in the game, Jordan, a freshman at the time, hit what would be the game-winning jump shot. The shot gave Smith and the Tar Heels their first national championship. In a 2016 interview with the late Craig Sager MJ said, "That was the birth of Michael Jordan. Before then I was Mike Jordan. All of a sudden, I make that shot and I'm Michael Jordan."

7. "Off the floor, off the scoreboard ... " Jordan was part of several iconic commercials -- Nike, Gatorade and Hanes, just to name a few -- but one of the best may have been his McDonald's spot that aired during the Super Bowl in 1993. In it, Jordan is about to eat a Big Mac, when Larry Bird offered a challenge and the craziest game of HORSE ever played ensued. 

8. Rare Air. Jordan retired as the NBA's third all-time leading scorer, behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone. He has since been passed on the list by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. Jordan's 1,072 career games is the second-fewest played of any of the NBA's top-10 career scoring leaders, with Wilt Chamberlain's 1,045 games being the fewest.

9. Thirty points a night, every night. MJ's 30.12 career points per game average is the highest in league history. Right behind him are Wilt Chamberlain (30.07), Elgin Baylor (27.36), Kevin Durant (27.28) and LeBron James (27.23). 

10. Man of the decade. Jordan won five league MVPs (1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, 1998) during his 12 full seasons with the Bulls.

11. A star among stars. He won three All-Star Game MVP trophies (1988, 1996, 1998), but his '98 All-Star performance may have been his most memorable. Despite being under the weather, Jordan's led the East squad to a 135-114 win with a stat line of 23 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals while often being matched up against Kobe Bryant, who scored 18 points in his All-Star debut. 

12. Remembering Kobe. Jordan retired as the All-Star Game career scoring leader with 262 points. He has since been passed by Kobe Bryant (290) and LeBron James' 413. In 2020, NBA re-named the All-Star MVP trophy in honor of Bryant, who won the award a record four times. 

13. Cleared for takeoff. Air Jordan lived up to his nickname when he won back-to-back Slam Dunk titles in 1987 and 1988. Jordan's second win, which came against 1985 winner Dominique Wilkins, was punctuated by Jordan's 50-point dunk (the highest total a dunk can receive) with a leap from the free throw line in front of the Chicago home crowd. 

14. The one. And only. The NBA first recognized its first Defensive Player of the Year in the 1982-83 season, and in the 40 years since only one player has won that award while also leading the league in scoring ... That player, of course, would be Jordan who averaged an even 35 points a game while also winning the DPOY award in the 1987-88 season.

15. Two six packs ... When it comes to the NBA Finals, Jordan quite simply dominated. His Bulls won all six NBA Finals series in which they appeared (1991-93 and 1996-98) and MJ was named series MVP every time.  

16. ... and never a lucky seven. Jordan never faced a Game 7 in the NBA Finals. Of his six Finals wins, only his first appearance versus the Lakers went five games. The other five series were decided in six games. 

17. If at first you don't succeed. One of the greatest winners in sports, Jordan's postseason career did not start out that way. He lost his first three postseason matchups that included two against Larry Bird's Celtics. Jordan's first playoff series win came against the Cavaliers in 1988, his fourth NBA season.

18. Breaking Bad Boys. The Detroit Pistons were a major roadblock during the first half of Jordan's career. Detroit's "Bad Boys" defeated Jordan & Co. in three straight postseasons from 1988-90 en route to winning back-to-back NBA titles of their own. But then came 1991, when Chicago swept Detroit. The Pistons responded by walking off the court, passing the Bulls' bench without shaking their hands before the clock expired in the series clincher.  

19. Showtime spectacular. MJ's first NBA Finals was the Bulls' "easiest" in that it took them just five games to close out Magic Johnson's Lakers. Jordan won MVP honors by averaging 31.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 11.4 assists for the series. In Game 2, a would be dunk with his right hand that became a left-handed layup in flight would become one of the signature shots of his career. 

20. Failure fuels. In 1991, Jordan's first career NBA Finals game ended with him missing the potential game-winning shot at the buzzer. Undaunted, Jordan scored 33 points three nights later as the Bulls evened the series. (Jordan has talked about failure quite often during his career.)

21. Biggest success on biggest stage. Jordan was 24-11 in NBA Finals games and 6-4 in series clinching games, but perhaps most impressively all five times his opponent was trailing in a series 3-2 with their "backs against the wall" he closed out the series in Game 6.

22. The shrug. Jordan's "shrug" game versus Portland in the 1992 Finals included an NBA Finals record 35 first half points. Jordan, who also hit a Finals first half record six three-pointers, scored just four points in the second half as the Bulls coasted to a 115-104 win over the Trail Blazers

23. High-octane outings. Jordan's first 40-point Finals game occurred in Game 2 of the 1993 Finals. Jordan, who scored 42 points in that game, would score 44, 55 and 41 points over the next three games before dropping 33 points in Chicago's series-clinching win in Phoenix. The Bulls withstood a strong series by Charles Barkley, who averaged 27.3 points, 13 rebounds and 5.5 assists over the six games. 

24. Still the greatest. Jordan's 63 points against the Celtics in Game 2 of their first-round playoffs series in 1986 remains the postseason's single game scoring record. Elgin Baylor is responsible for the only other 60-point playoff performance. Next closest? Donovan Mitchell, playing for Utah at the time, scored 57 against Denver while playing in the bubble during the 2020 playoffs.

25. Kobe 5, Jordan 3. Jordan faced Kobe Bryant eight times during his career. He split his four games against Bryant as a member of the Bulls, but was 1-3 against him during his two years with the Wizards

26. Always teaching. MJ's third matchup against Bryant was the most memorable. Jordan and Bryant scored 36 and 33 points, respectively, in a Bulls win back in 1997. Afterwords, Jordan acknowledged that he spent parts of the game imparting wisdom on the then 19-year-old Bryant. 

27. A special bond. Jordan served as Bryant's presenter when Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021. 

28. Party of Five. MJ had four Hall of Fame teammates: Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc and Robert Parish -- yes, that Robert Parish who won three titles with the '80s Celtics. 

29. Eight men out. Jordan defeated eight future Hall of Fame players in NBA Finals competition: Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Vlade Divac, Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Gary Payton, Karl Malone and John Stockton. 

30. Knocking the Knicks. The team Jordan tormented most in the postseason was the New York Knicks, whose only playoff win in six tries against the Bulls in the 1990s came in 1994, during Jordan's only postseason sabbatical before his 1998 retirement. New York's most bitter playoff loss to Chicago occurred in the 1993 Eastern Conference Finals. Chicago trailed 0-2 before rallying back to win the series in six games. Along with beating his rival, Jordan was further motivated after a night at the casino led to a media storm. 

31. "Why you quit?" The player Jordan tormented most on the game's biggest stage was former Jazz guard Byron Russell. Jordan hit game-winning shots over him in Game 1 of the 1997 Finals and in the series-clinching sixth game of the 1998 Finals, which happened to be Jordan's final shot in a Bulls uniform. And perhaps for good reason. During "The Last Dance" docuseries it would be revealed that a young Russell started directing barbs to Jordan, who while in his baseball phase, was visiting the older members of the Jazz. Said Russell: "Man, why you quit? Why you quit? You knew I could guard your ass. You had to quit."

32. The original shot. About nine years before "The Last Shot" tormented Utah fans, "The Shot" stomped the heart of the Cavaliers faithful. With three second left in the deciding Game 5 and Chicago down by a point, Jordan sank a running jumper from just beyond the foul line to vanquish host Cleveland. That game-winning bucket ending the first-round of the 1989 playoffs is considered one of the NBA's greatest clutch shots.

33. One Game 7 defeat. Jordan went 2-1 in Game 7s in his career. His lone Game 7 loss came against the Pistons in the 1990 Eastern Conference finals, a game the saw the Bulls at a disadvantage because Scottie Pippen was dealing with a migraine. Jordan's Bulls were again pushed to the limit in Eastern Conference finals matchups with Cleveland in 1992) and Indiana in 1998), but they prevailed in both games. 

34. The flu game. As he explained in "The Last Dance," Jordan revealed that he was actually dealing with a bout of food poising during his famous "flu game" before Game 5 of the 1997 Finals against the Jazz in Utah. Jordan gritted his way to 38 points that included the critical three-pointer in a 90-88 win. 

35. Two-sport athlete. While he hit just .202 during his time with the Birmingham Barons (the White Sox AA affiliate), Jordan hit .252 in the Arizona Fall League against some of minor league baseball's top prospects. Jordan, who was managed in Birmingham by current Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona, began to consider an NBA comeback during the strike that straddled the 1994 and 1995 baseball seasons. 

36. Just the fax. In the days before social media, people often used something called a fax machine to send written messages. And on March 18, 1995, Jordan did just that, in inform the world that he was returning to the NBA, simply proclaiming, "I'm back."

37. Double nickel. Jordan's "double nickel" game against the Knicks on March 28, 1995, was just his fifth game back following his 18 month hiatus to play baseball. Jordan's 55 points were the most ever scored by a visiting player at Madison Square Garden until Kobe Bryant scored 61 in 2009, a feat that would be matched by James Harden in 2019.

38. Fuzzy math. Instead of donning 23, Jordan switched to number 45 -- his first number when he started high school -- for the start of his second stint with the Bulls. However, after then-Magic guard Nick Anderson declared that "45 is not 23" following Orlando's Game 1 win over Chicago in the 1995 playoffs, Jordan, grabbed that 23 from the rafters and promptly scored 38 points in a Game 2 win.

39. Magic revenge. Here's another mind-boggling stat -- Jordan won 25 of his last 26 playoff series. His only playoff series loss from 1991 to 1998 came at the hands of the Orlando Magic during Jordan's comeback season of 1995. Orlando was led back then by Shaquille O'Neal, Penny Hardaway and Horace Grant, who had been a key cog in the Bulls' first three-peat. Orlando won the series in six games, then advanced to the Finals, where they were swept by the Houston Rockets. Jordan and his teammates issued a measure of payback in the 1996 playoffs. Fresh off a record 72-win regular season, Chicago swept Orlando in what were Shaq's final games in a Magic uniform. 

40. The Dream Series. The Rockets won back-to-back titles in 1994-95, during Jordan's 18-month break from basketball. With Jordan in the lineup, Chicago split its 14 games against Houston during the decade. Now, no one knows what might've happened if Jordan had played in the NBA fully for 1994 and 1995 seasons, but the thought of the Rockets and their Hall of Fame duo of Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler going up against Jordan and a Bulls squad from the heart of the dynasty is beyond tantalizing.

41. Second in command. Scottie Pippen was Jordan's only teammate who was part of each of his six championships, and Jordan has often referred to Pippen as his greatest teammate. 

42. The Dream Team. Jordan won two Olympic gold medals. Once in 1984, just prior to his NBA career, and the other as part of the 1992 "Dream Team" that featured 11 future Hall of Fame players. (Christian Laettner, who had just entered the NBA from Duke, was the 12th man on that team.)

43. Jordan 2, Jordan 0. Fun fact: If you ever find yourself wanting to Google what MJ did during his Summer Games appearances, make sure you type "Michael Jordan at the Olympics" and not "Jordan at the Olympics" ... If you do the latter, you'll note that as of the summer of 1992, Michael Jordan had two career gold medals, whereas the nation of Jordan had never won a single medal spanning the four Olympiads it had delegations competing.

44. The greatest game never seen. In the run up to Dream Team's Olympics gold, coach Chuck Daly put the team through an exhibition game. The game, considered to be the greatest game that nobody saw (expect the assistant coaches and a handful of other people), pitted Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Larry Bird, Karl Malone, and Patrick Ewing against Christian Laettner, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Chris Mullin and Magic Johnson. After falling behind early, Jordan came alive and willed his squad to a 40-35 win. Jordan led both teams with 17 points and eight rebounds, per NBA writer Jack McCallum in his book about the Dream Team.

45. Captain Marvel? Before being known worldwide as Air Jordan, Jordan was briefly referred to as Captain Marvel at the beginning of his Bulls career. The nickname obviously didn't stick.

46. Goad management. Jordan, who as seen during "The Last Dance," would turn nearly any comment or slight -- real or perceived -- into a form of motivation, played in all 82 games nine of his 14 full NBA seasons, including his age 40 (and final) season with the Wizards in 2002-03.

47. Ageless wonder. The only player in NBA history to average 20 points per game at the age of 40? Yup. You know the answer. 

48. The 40-40 club. Jordan scored at least 40 points three times during his final season, including a 43-point effort against the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Nets on Feb. 21, 2003, four days after turning 40. 

49. End of an era. Jordan's last NBA game took place in Philadelphia against the 76ers on April 16, 2003. Jordan scored 15 points, while a 27-year-old Allen Iverson led all scorers with 35 points. 

50. Jordan's favorite Jordans. When it comes to Air Jordans, everybody has their favorites -- including the man whose name is on the shoe. When asked, Jordan said the 11s are his faves, followed by the 3s, then the 12s or 13s. The line, which debuted in 1984, has been coming out with new styles, colorways and hybrids every year since and shows no signs of stopping.

51. Airless Air. Amazon's Ben Affleck-directed movie, "Air," about Nike's signing of Michael Jordan that debuted in April of 2023, did not feature a on-screen portrayal of Jordan. However, Jordan's mother, Deloris, was played by Viola Davis.

52. Return on investment. In 1984, Nike was hoping to earn $3 million in four years selling Jordan branded products. In 2022, Nike was reported to have made that amount off the line -- every five hours. 

53. Listen to your parents. Jordan's favorite sneaker brand in college was Adidas. He only signed with Nike after his parents advised him to do so. 

54. Be like Mike. In advance of his 60th birthday, Jordan made a $10 million donation to Make-A-Wish, the largest single contribution from an individual in the 43-year history of the organization. Jordan is also one of the organization's most requested figures. 

55. Keeping it 100. The legend of Jordan has continued in the form of video games. He's been the face of several versions of NBA 2K. Jordan recently became the first 100 OVR player in the game's history. 

56. Jammed. Jordan is not, however included in the hit NBA Jam game due to a licensing issue. 

57. "Space Jam" trivia. So who was originally supposed to appear in the first "Space Jam" movie back in 1996? ... No, we're not talking about Michael Jordan, who was was tasked with helping the Looney Tunes save the planet from evil martians who had stolen the talents of some of the NBA's best players. We're talking about that other main character played by Wayne Knight, he of "Seinfeld" and "Jurassic Park" fame ... Give up? ... Well, turns out Knight's character was almost filled by another "Seinfeld" star, Jason Alexander, who declined. And the director also considered Chevy Chase and Michael J. Fox for the role. 

58. Frankly speaking. While his Hall of Fame speech in 2009 sparked controversial, his speech during Kobe Bryant's memorial in 2020 struck all the right notes. Jordan didn't hold back as he shared what his friendship with Bryant meant to him. 

59. Bull market. In 2010, Jordan purchased Charlotte's NBA franchise when it was known as the Bobcats, for about $175 million. Jordan owns the vast majority of the team, now known as the Hornets, which is worth about $1.7 billion, according to Forbes.

60. End of another era. In August of 2023, Jordan sold the majority of his stake in the franchise for $3 billion, effectively making a $2.25 billion profit. During Jordan's 13-year-run as majority owner, Charlotte made the playoffs three times. One of Jordan's biggest moves as owner was changing the team's name back to the Hornets in 2014. 

61. GOAT. Jordan is among a handful of players who could be argued as the greatest basketball player of all-time. While there is room for debate, this is the first sentence summarizing Jordan's career on his NBA.com bio page: "By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all-time."