On this date: Michael Jordan makes his NBA debut for the Chicago Bulls

(1984) Chicago Bulls rookie Michael Jordan against the Knicks during an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden

On this date, Michael Jordan started his NBA journey. However, his performance against the Washington Bullets was in no way a sign of things to come.

MJ’s NBA debut

Coming off the 1984 Olympics — Jordan averaged team-high 17.1 points to lead Team USA to gold — the stage was set for a rookie from North Carolina to take over the NBA.

Drafted No.3 by Rod Thorn and the Bulls, Michael had made a strong impression on the city of Chicago even before he suited up for his new team. That, in and of itself, added to the hype leading up to his first regular season game.

What followed was a solid all-around performance that would in no way signal the level of greatness No.23 would reach later on.

Jordan put up 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists in a 109-93 win over the Bullets. He also had 4 blocks and 2 steals, shooting 5-for-16 from the floor and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line in 40 minutes of action.

Orlando Wooldridge led all scorers with 28 points, and Quintin Dailey added 25 off the bench. Frank Johnson and Gus Williams led the Bullets’ balanced offense with 15 points.

Rookie of The Year Campaign

Two games later, MJ dropped 37 points in a 116-110 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. Two weeks later, he exploded for 45 against the San Antonio Spurs — he also added 10 rebounds and 4 assists on 18-for-27 from the field.

Jordan ended up winning the Rookie of The Year, averaging 28.2 points, 5.9 assists, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.4 steals on 51.5% from the field. He led all rookies in points and assists and even got the Chicago Bulls into the Playoffs with a 38-44 record.

So even if he did get off to an average start, everything that followed MJ’s debut against the Bullets was in no way average.

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