Michael Jordan is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players of all time, but where did it all begin?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Michael Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Michael Jordan’s high school years, his early life and career, and how his experiences at Laney shaped the athlete he would become.

Early Life and Childhood

Michael Jordan, widely considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time, was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 17, 1963. However, he spent most of his childhood in Wilmington, North Carolina, where his family moved when he was just a toddler.

Growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina

Wilmington was a small town with a population of around 50,000 people, and it was a predominantly African-American community. Jordan grew up in a modest home with his parents and four siblings. His father, James Jordan, worked at a General Electric plant, while his mother, Deloris, worked at a bank.

Jordan’s family background

Jordan’s family was close-knit and supportive of each other. His parents emphasized the importance of education and hard work, and they instilled these values in their children. Jordan’s older brother, Larry, was also a talented basketball player, and he served as an inspiration for Michael.

Early interest in sports

Michael Jordan’s interest in sports began at an early age. He played baseball, football, and basketball as a child, and he quickly developed a reputation as a gifted athlete. Jordan’s father recognized his son’s talent and encouraged him to pursue basketball, a sport that James Jordan had played in college.

By the time Jordan reached high school, he was already a standout basketball player. He played for Laney High School in Wilmington and quickly became the star of the team. Jordan’s talent on the court earned him a scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he would go on to become a collegiate and NBA legend.

High School Years

Attending Emsley A. Laney High School

Michael Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina, where he played basketball, football, and baseball. Although he was cut from the varsity basketball team during his sophomore year, he continued to work hard and practice every day, determined to improve his skills.

Jordan’s early struggles as a basketball player

Despite his love for basketball, Jordan struggled to make an impact on the court during his early high school years. He was often overshadowed by his taller and more experienced teammates, and his lack of height and strength made it difficult for him to compete at a high level.

However, Jordan refused to be discouraged and continued to work tirelessly on his game. He spent countless hours practicing his shooting, ball handling, and footwork, and his dedication soon began to pay off.

Rise to prominence and recruitment by colleges

By his senior year, Jordan had grown to 6’6″ and had become one of the top high school basketball players in the country. He led his team to a 19-4 record and an appearance in the state playoffs, averaging 25 points per game and earning numerous accolades and awards.

His impressive performance on the court caught the attention of college coaches across the country, and he was heavily recruited by some of the top programs in the country, including North Carolina, Duke, and Kentucky.

Jordan ultimately chose to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he played for legendary coach Dean Smith and helped lead the Tar Heels to a national championship in 1982.

Looking back on his high school years, Jordan has often credited his early struggles and determination to improve as the keys to his eventual success as a basketball player and as a person.

Legacy and Impact

Jordan’s impact on high school basketball in North Carolina

Michael Jordan’s high school career at Laney High School in Wilmington, North Carolina, had a significant impact on high school basketball in the state. He led his team to the state playoffs his senior year, and his success on the court inspired a generation of young basketball players in North Carolina.

After Jordan’s success at Laney, high school basketball in the state experienced a surge in popularity. More young athletes began to take the sport seriously, and the level of competition increased across the board.

Laney High School’s legacy as Jordan’s alma mater

Laney High School has become known as the alma mater of one of the greatest basketball players of all time. The school has embraced its connection to Jordan, and his legacy has become an important part of the school’s identity.

Today, Laney High School is a popular destination for basketball fans who want to see where Jordan got his start. The school has even erected a statue of Jordan outside the gymnasium to honor his accomplishments on the court.

Jordan’s continued influence on the sport of basketball

More than 30 years after his high school career, Michael Jordan continues to have a major impact on the sport of basketball. His success as a professional player and his legendary status as a cultural icon have made him one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport.

Jordan’s legacy is felt not just in the United States, but around the world. His shoes and apparel continue to be top sellers, and his impact on the sport can be seen in the way that basketball is played and marketed today.

Even young players who were not alive during Jordan’s playing career still look up to him as a role model and a source of inspiration. His determination, work ethic, and competitive spirit continue to inspire young athletes to this day.


Although Michael Jordan’s career took him far beyond the halls of Emsley A. Laney High School, his experiences there played a crucial role in shaping the athlete and person he would become.

From his early struggles on the basketball court to his rise to prominence both in high school and later as a professional, Jordan’s story is one of perseverance, dedication, and hard work.

Today, Laney High School remains a proud part of Jordan’s legacy, and his impact on the world of basketball continues to be felt by players and fans alike.

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