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Chicagoist Weekend Theatre: Michael Jordan's NBA Debut, 30 Years Ago Today

By Jon Graef in News on Oct 26, 2014 8:15PM

Forget the Bears. Relive happier Chicago sports times by watching video of Bulls legend Michael Jordan's NBA debut on Oct. 26, 1984— exactly 30 years ago today. Jordan laced up against the Washington Bullets—now the Washington Wizards, which proves at least one Washington sports team owner was able to take a fucking hint—and scored a respectable 16 points, while also nabbing six rebounds and dishing out seven assists.

Here's how veteran sports reporter Sam Smith, whose forthcoming book about Jordan, There is No Next: NBA Legends on the Legacy of Michael Jordan was excerpted today on, sets the scene:

Not quite the All-Star freezeout to come, but word was out. Which made what Jordan would accomplish that season even more remarkable, averaging 28.2 points amidst recalcitrant teammates and onerous opposition. There would be one highlight for the fans of plays to come, a full court dash with a behind the back dribble and long armed layup, the hints there of the hang, the tongue, the excitement. In considering the anniversary a year ago, I began to realize there’s an entire generation now who knows Jordan but never truly saw him in his fabulous developmental years leading to the Bulls dynasty and his incredible fame, what sort of person he was and is and how this all occurred...

Smith further contextualizes Jordan's debut through the lenses of race ["that he was a black man so readily accepted into American homes and beloved was a breakthrough..."], culture, and economics. Smith also talks to Jordan's teammates, like John Paxson, about their memories of Jordan. The whole thing is worth your time.

But this is what you came for. Here's video, via the Bleacher Report:

And another video, longer, with a bizarre French announcer overdub:

Finally, there's footage of MJ's top 50 plays. Now you can forget all about the Bears.