Michael Jordan turned 54 years old today. In his career, he scored 50 points or more 39 times (eight in the playoffs). He scored 54 points in a game three times (two in the same season).

November 3, 1989 (124-119 OT win against the Cleveland Cavaliers)

19/31, 15/17 FT’s, 14 rebounds, six assists, three steals

November 20, 1992 (120-118 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers)

21/39, 11-14, 13 rebounds, seven assists, three blocks

May 31, 1993 (105-95 game four playoff win against the New York Knicks)

18/30, 6/9 3pt, 12-14 FT, six rebounds, two steals

Jordan is considered by many to be the best basketball player of all-time. In addition to being a great player, his shoes and merchandise are still high sellers. During his playing days he also appeared in commercials for McDonald’s, Gatorade and many others. He may be the most popular athlete ever. Space Jam is still considered a big hit by many. I myself did not have any interest in sports until Jordan made his return from baseball in 1995.

At age 10, my uncle took me to a Timberwolves-Bulls game. I was so excited to see him live.

For his career, Jordan averaged 30.1 points per game (NBA record), won six championships (finals MVP for all six – NBA record), five MVP awards, three all-star MVP’s, 10 scoring titles (NBA record) and made 14 all-star appearances. He was also a nine-time NBA All-Defensive Team member (NBA record) and was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1988. While at North Carolina, Jordan led the Tar Heels to a National Championship in 1982 and was named the National Player of the Year in 1984. He was drafted third overall by the Chicago Bulls in 1984 and was named Rookie of the Year. He is currently the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.

What makes his accomplishments more impressive is that he played in a tougher era. In today’s game, teams cannot play as physical as they could in Jordan’s era. One of his strengths was taking the ball to rim and that was against some of the best big men to ever play the game (Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Kevin McHale, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon, Charles Barkley, etc.). Being away from basketball for 17 months did not slow him down either. He continued to dominate the game.

We also saw him still play well with the Washington Wizards from 2001-2003, even though he was well past his prime and had been retired for three seasons. He became the first 40-year old to score 40 points in a game and also scored 51 points as a 38-year old, which is also an NBA record.

Phil Jackson, Scottie Pippen and Larry Brown are among those who have said that Jordan would be able to average 40 points per game or more in today’s era.

Other NBA records:

-NBA Finals scoring average (41.0 in 1993)

-Points per game in playoffs (33.4)

-Seven consecutive scoring titles (1987-1993)

-Most points in a playoff game (63 in 1986)

-Most career playoff points (5,987)

-Most career playoff free throws (1,463)

-Consecutive games with 10 points or more (866)

-Slam dunk contest titles (two)