Cultural Icon: Michael Jordan – Essay Example

The paper "Cultural Icon: Michael Jordan" is a great example of an essay on culture. The purpose of this paper is to provide some insight as to why Michael Jordan has become the cultural icon that he is today. The format that this paper will utilize is to first give some background information on the man himself then provide some information on the steps that he undertook in order to become more identifiable as a pop icon.
According to 23Jordan.com (2010), it is the case that Michael Jordan was born in Brooklyn, New York City but moved to Wilmington, North Carolina when he was a young boy. Michael took to a number of sports (Particularly Baseball and Basketball) but after failing to make the varsity team because he was considered too short, he used this as a catalyst to push himself to train harder. As a result, Michael became one of the highest scoring players on his team and earned an athletic scholarship to the University of North Carolina. Whilst playing on the University team, Jordan managed to set many game records and entered the NBA draft one year prior to graduation to join the Chicago Bulls (Although it should be noted that he returned to compete for his degree in 1986). Jordan established himself as one of the all-time leading shooting guards in the NBA winning many separate MVP awards. However, in 1993 Jordan shocked the basketball world by announcing his retirement from basketball in order to play minor league baseball with the hopes of making it to the majors. By 1994 Jordan had returned to basketball and performed well until his ultimate retirement ultimately winning the second three-peat and winning two Olympic gold medals.
The reasoning behind why Jordan has become such a cultural and pop icon can be broken up into three distinct reasons. Firstly it is the case that Jordan was an excellent all-around basketball player, by nature of winning several NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals. Secondly, it is the case that Michael Jordan was able to successfully market himself, with the launch of several ‘Air Jordan’ branded products which helped cause name recognition. Lastly, there is the case of the character of Michael Jordan himself. In this last regard, people like to idolize Michael Jordan because he is a handsome, well spoken, wealthy, dedicated athlete. Building on this point it could be argued the Michael Jordan displays a dedicated nature that is unmatched by many athletes insofar as he abandoned his basketball career to pursue his true passion of baseball, and during this time never missed practice and often trained harder than his teammates. Furthermore, Jordan exudes an “Anything is possible” attitude by nature of his frequent career shifts that further reinforces his character.
Any pop culture analysis would indicate, it is the case that people like to associate with positive role models, and Michael Jordan by nature of his stick-to·-itiveness, charm, good looks etc. was able to firmly plant himself into the psyche of the global consumer and win the heart and minds of men and women alike.