What if Michael Jordan was the King of New York? I know it sounds like a popular comic book title from Marvel Comics, but imagine that. In 1996, New York Knicks offered All-Star guard Michael Jordan a $25 million contract to play in New York, which he accepted and instantly transformed Madison Square Garden into his kingdom. Under the NBA coach Jeff Van Gundy, the Knicks, led by Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Oakley dominated the Eastern Conference and the rest of the NBA with their rough and physical style of basketball. They have phenomenal rivalries with the Chicago Bulls, Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers, and Miami Heat during the late 1990s and go on to win three NBA championships for the Knicks.
Michael Jordan retired from the game after the short 1999 NBA season. He helped turned the New York Knicks into a dynasty and the NBA’s third most historic team behind the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers. A 12-foot golden statue of Michael Jordan (known as “The Icon”) stands atop a 5-foot gold granite base in front of Madison Square Garden as a token of the Knicks organization’s appreciation for his greatness. This cemented his legacy as the greatest athlete in the world and in New York sports. His name in the city was royalty like other great New York athletes such as “Babe” Ruth, Lawrence “L.T.” Taylor, and Mark Messier. He even had a street named after him on West 34th Street and 7th Avenue.
He entered the NBA as “Air Jordan” and exited as “The King of New York.”
By Shamarie Knight, 7th Jul 2014