Family influence and guidance assumes a major role in shaping the career trajectory of a young player, but no player in perhaps the history of sports has had a personal tragedy make a direct impact in a player’s career than it has on Michael Jordan. The sudden death of his father, James R. Jordan, in July of 1993 was a direct contribution to Michael’s decision to retire in October of that year, and his triumph on Father’s Day of 1996 coerced one of the most heart-breaking emotional responses to victory we’ve ever seen. Michael’s fourth NBA Championship on Father’s Day – Was It The Shoes, or the work of a higher power?
Michael’s relationship with his father was extraordinary. It was Father Jordan’s desire for his son to be an extraordinary athlete, who pushed him to try out for his High School basketball team, and who was at his side when he won his first NBA Title in 1991 against the Los Angeles Lakers. The iconic images of a wide-smiled James and a weeping Michael embracing with the Larry O’Brien trophy in-between them stands as one of the true highlights of how a parental figure can turn raw talent into superstar.