March Madness: Five Greatest Michael Jordan Moments in NCAA Basketball

Published 03/02/2021, 2:00 PM EST

Michael Jordan is one of the greatest athletes to ever play the game of basketball. Jordan took the natural route by playing in high school, moving to college, and then joining the NBA. The middle stage is where he gained massive recognition as a talented baller. 


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Jordan played three seasons with the North Carolina Tar Heels, a team representing the University of North Carolina. During that span, head coach Dean Smith transformed him into a complete player and someone who was ready to take the NBA by storm! 

A few memorable Michael Jordan achievements in NCAA Basketball


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  • 1982 ACC Rookie of the Year

This accolade was enough for teams to know about the talent of Michael Jordan. From initially being looked at as a skinny kid from North Carolina, to becoming an NCAA champion as a freshman, the ACC Rookie of the Year award was a testament to his hardwork.

Michael Jordan averaged 13.5 points in 53.4% field goal shooting as a freshman, and the numbers only grew in the subsequent seasons. 

  • Came up clutch in the final regular-season game of the 1984 season

North Carolina and Duke faced off in the final regular-season game of the 1983-84 season. UNC’s undefeated streak in conference play was on the line, but they let the game slip away and the game went into double overtime. 

The Tar Heels were at risk of losing their perfect conference run in the regular-season, but Jordan came up big by scoring a team-high 25 points and ended up winning the game 96-83 for North Carolina. 

  • Michael Jordan received a glorious farewell in his final season with UNC

Michael Jordan did not complete four years at college and left for the NBA after his junior year. However, the 1983-84 season also went down as one of the most important years in MJ’s life. 

He averaged 19.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG, and shot 55.1% from the field. This was an impressive stat line and the Atlantic Coast conference bestowed MJ with the ACC Player and the Athlete of the Year Awards. 

Furthermore, Jordan was also named consensus National Player of the Year in 1984 which implies that he won all the six major National Player of the Year awards that year. 

  •  Michael Jordan led North Carolina in points for two consecutive seasons 

Long before he won ten consecutive scoring titles in the NBA, Michael Jordan announced his talent to the world by leading UNC in scoring in his sophomore and junior seasons. The team had immense talents, but MJ stood out from the pack with his elegant scoring technique. 

Jordan scored 721 points as a sophomore (most in North Carolina history) and racked up 607 points in his junior season to mark his name in history. 

  •  Scored clutch shot to clinch National Championship in 1982

Michael Jordan scoring the game-winner against the Georgetown Hoyas in the 1982 championship game is the best moment of his NCAA career! 

The game took place on March 29, 1982, and an astounding six future Hall-of-Famers were present at the Lousiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. 


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The Tar Heels were trailing by two points with the clock winding down to less than 20 seconds. That’s when a freshman Michael Jordan received the ball on the wing and sunk the ball into the net from the three-point range. 

The Hoyas couldn’t respond in the time, and Jordan sealed the National Championship for UNC with his beautiful shot. Another significance of this shot was that MJ scored both the first and the last bucket that season for UNC!  


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Arjun Athreya

1801 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.