‘Michael Jordan was once one of the 3 most famous people on the planet’: When a 1996 study found MJ’s unrivaled popularity, Princess Diana and the Pope being other high-profile names


Michael Jordan was once among the 3 most popular in the world and almost 20 years after his retirement, the man is still a big name.

There are a handful of people on the planet whose legacy will live on as long as there is life. When you think of the athletes in this conversation line, the two names that come to mind for most people would be Muhammad Ali and Michael Jordan.

Both North American legends have done so much for their sport that no individual could do for theirs. While there is no doubt that Ali revolutionized boxing like never before, there is no denying the fact that it was already a popular sport around the world.

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But the sport of basketball would forever be indebted to “His Airness” for its tremendous contribution to the game’s increased fame outside the United States since its debut in 1984.

Beginning in 1984, Jordan became the center of many people’s sporting lives, and by the time the 90s approached, he was one of the most famous people on the planet.

Michael Jordan was among the 3 most popular personalities on the planet alongside Princess Di and the Pope.

Between 1991 and 1998, Jordan, Phil Jackson and the Bulls won an astonishing 6 NBA titles in 8 years, something that hasn’t happened in the modern era since Bill Russell’s Celtics did it in the 60s .

But thanks to better broadcasting thanks to advancements in technology, Jordan captured the world’s attention every time he snagged for the Bulls in Chicago.

The 1992 Olympics also played a major role in lifting the popularity of basketball to new heights. With Jordan at the top of the list, Team USA that year had the biggest names in basketball and is still one of the best teams in all sports history to this day, if not the best.

In 1996, as they prepared to launch “Space Jam”, Warner Brothers commissioned research to determine Jordan’s reach of fame. According to an ESPN article, this study revealed that the three most famous people on the planet at the time were Princess Diana, Jordan and the Pope.

And to this day, the name is still synonymous with the game, even after the fierce challenges presented by Kobe Bryant and LeBron James over the years.

17 years after his retirement, MJ has proven he is still the undisputed king of the basketball world

After winning their sixth and final championship in 1998, Bulls coach Phil Jackson knew what an impact Mike had had on the world in just about 14 years.

“I know I will be forgotten as soon as this is over. We all will. Except for Michael. Michael will be remembered forever.

Phil could be seen saying this in ‘The Last Dance’, a documentary that lets us catch the legendary team’s final season whenever we want on the OTT platform, Netflix.

Jackson was there. When the ESPN documentary was released in April 2020, their prime-time ratings were up from the previous year, at a time when almost all live sporting events were canceled or postponed due to the pandemic.

Seventeen years after Jordan played his last game on the basketball court, the 6x champion drew 5.6 million viewers per episode over the 5 weeks of the documentary and drew nearly 13 million viewers per episode to Requirement. Netflix has garnered around 24 million views outside the United States for the same.

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If that wasn’t enough, his game-worn shoes sell for millions and his game heels sell for hundreds of thousands, are proof that Jordan is still the household name in basketball and will forever be the name of the game. one of the greatest athletes of all sports.


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