How Michael Jordan Almost Ended His Career With His First Ever Dunk Attempt

Published 10/27/2021, 3:30 PM EDT
(Original Caption) Michael Jordan, forward for the Chicago Bulls, holding a basketball in the locker room.


Ever stop to think what the NBA would have turned out to be like if there was no Michael Jordan? And there was no Chicago Bulls legacy? Thank god that’s not the world we live in. However, believe it or not, there was a big possibility of that happening. Jordan’s career could have come to a halt even before it started. And it was all because he wanted to dunk over two-time NBA All-Star Jeff Ruland.

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Michael Jordan would have ended his own career?

As luck would have it, the Chicago Bulls had only bagged 27 wins during the 1983-84 season, so when Draft night came along after it, they had the third overall pick. Of course, we all know what happened after that. They picked UNC’s Michael Jordan, who eventually turned the face of the franchise around, establishing a dynasty never seen before.

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As good as his rookie season was, nobody would have believed his potential after seeing his debut game on October 26, 1984. The Chicago Bulls were up against the Washington Bullets, and Jordan was a mess. Apart from turning over the ball, his shooting was ridiculous. Despite struggling, Jordan went out on a limb and tried to dunk on 6’10”, Jeff Ruland.

He missed the dunk, on top of that, he had a bad fall on his back and MJ was lying there for over a minute. In fact, even if he had made that shot, it wouldn’t have been counted as he was called for traveling.

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He eventually had a great Rookie season

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Jordan was very fortunate that nothing severe happened to him. A glimpse of his never-give-up attitude was evident that day, as he returned to play all of the remaining 40 minutes. He even contributed 16 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 4 blocks, and 2 steals to their 109-93 victory against the Bullets.

The rest of his rookie campaign was hiccup-free. He was there for all 82 games, averaging 28.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists. Given the Chicago Bulls couldn’t get past the first round of the playoffs, losing to the Milwaukee Bucks. But the world had seen enough. Jordan became Rookie of the Year, despite Hakeem Olajuwon being the first pick in the draft.

29 Apr 1998: Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls in action against Jason Williams #55 of the New Jersey Nets during the NBA Playoffs round 3 game at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Bulls defeated the Nets 116-101.

Jordan did break his foot the following season. But nothing after that could have stopped him from his six NBA championships. Thank god, it didn’t.

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DIVE DEEPER

Vince Carter Reveals How he Gave His All-Star Starting Spot to Michael Jordan to Avoid Being ‘Blackballed’ in the NBA

about 1 month ago

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Yashima Bhatia

1710 articles

Yashima Bhatia is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports who specialises in providing nuanced predictions and updates for matches. She has a Bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication. Yashima's love for playing the game came up at a young age, when the excitement of the games coupled with the intensity of the Playoffs had her hooked.

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