by Andrea Williams

The date was October 26, 1984, and the Chicago Bulls were taking on the Washington Bullets in their season opener. In the starting lineup was an anxious rookie from North Carolina, fresh off of a gold-medal performance as a member of the ‘84 US Olympic team and eager to make his NBA debut.

Michael Jordan won Rookie of the Year honors that season while leading his team in almost every major statistical category, including total points scored, points per game, rebounds, assists, steals and minutes played. Over the course of 15 seasons – intermixed with a couple of highly publicized retirements and reinstatements -Jordan proceeded to re-write NBA record books and earn scores of accolades on his way to becoming, who most believe to be, the greatest basketball player of all time.

Equally as impressive as his on-court domination was Jordan’s methodical construction of a now billion-dollar retail empire -Air Jordan. And, despite the fact that he hasn’t taken a professional jumpshot in more than seven years, his dynasty is more secure than ever and growing stronger – and more profitable – each year.