Wilmington residents remember Michael Jordan as star celebrates 50th birthday
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WILMINGTON — One of the biggest names in sports, who happens to call North Carolina home, is celebrating a milestone birthday.
Michael Jordan turned 50-years-old on Sunday. The star basketball player grew up in Coastal Carolina and got his start at Wilmington's Laney High School.
He's one of the most recognized names in sports.
"His baseball playing is what I remember him most by. But he was a pretty good basketball player too," said Wilmington resident Walter Simmons with a laugh.
Michael Jordan, the star basketball player who won six NBA titles, five Most Valuable Player awards and two Olympic gold medals, turned 50-years-old on Sunday. However, true fans said his age doesn't matter.
"He's still one of the greatest player of all time," said Wilmington resident Chris Sutton.
At a half-century old, Michael Jordan is still a household name in Wilmington, the city where he grew up. His Airness was actually born in Brooklyn, but moved to Wilmington as a toddler.
He played three sports while attending Wilmington's Laney High School, but he is most known for his basketball skills.
"The greatest thing I ever saw was at Cameron Indoor when Duke had a fast break, Michael Jordan blocked the guy's head on the backboard," said Sutton.
Michael Jordan went on to star at UNC-Chapel Hill, and eventually played for the Chicago Bulls where he won multiple NBA championships.
"When he played for the Bulls and went for a layup and switched hands in mid-air and made the lay-up; [the] greatest play I've ever seen," said Sutton.
Jordan was ranked the No. 1 athlete of the 20th century by ESPN. Although he's been out of the game for quite some time, people still consider him an inspiration for all.
"He's a worldwide figure, especially with the Olympics and everything he's done, he's brought the game international," said Sutton.
These days, he is the owner of the Charlotte Bobcats and has not lost his on-court touch. The Bobcat's first round draft pick for this season, Michael Kidd-Gilcrhistm who is just shy of 20-years-old, said he recently lost in a one-on-one match to Michael Jordan.
"He's a role model for sure," said Simmons.
Jordan celebrated the birthday in style. Media outlets in Houston reported that he rented out a museum for a birthday bash during the NBA's All-Star Weekend.