Michael Jordan is known for a plethora of things on and off the court. Mainly for being the greatest player to ever pick up an NBA ball, but also as a ruthless and fierce competitor who would stop at nothing to win, and elevate his teammates’ play.
Often Jordan has been criticized for being a harsh leader whose methods of motivation were controversial, but the result always tipped in his favor. Still, it leads most to wonder how his offspring weren’t able to make the NBA.
Jeffery Michael Jordan is the first son and child of Michael Jordan. He was born to Michael and his first wife Juanita Vanoy in 1988. Jordan like many athletes that came before him and the ones to come after, dreamed of his son making the league and continuing the family legacy.
It’s here that we should point out that Michael Jordan was widely recognized as the biggest name in basketball during the 80s and 90s. He was worldwide famous and if Bronny James thinks there is pressure with him carrying the James name, we can only imagine what it would have been like for Jeffery Jordan.
The immense pressure and expectations upon his shoulders, coupled with the fact that Jordan coached his children like a drill sergeant, didn’t produce the expected result. Jeffery never was able to make it to the league but was a recognized athlete in high school and college.
Jeffery Jordan was a walk-on for the University of Illinois
Considering that he was Michael Jordan’s son, Jeffery Jordan received a huge amount of media coverage during his days at Loyola Academy, Wilmette. He even had three of his high school games nationally televised on ESPN in 2007. After graduating from Loyola in 2007, he received scholarship offers from Valparaiso and Loyola University Chicago and was actively recruited as a preferred walk-on by Davidson, Penn State, Northwestern, and the University of Illinois.
A walk-on is an athlete who becomes part of a team without being recruited and awarded an athletic scholarship. A team’s walk-on players are normally the weakest and relegated to the scout team, and may not even be placed on the official depth chart or traveling team, while the scholarship players are the team’s main players.
Despite his low-level recruiting after high school, it seems Michael Jordan still believed in his son. He was still coaching him to succeed and even offered him a bit of advice which Jeffery did not take kindly to. “My dad was big on ‘finish what you start’ and practicing fundamentals in anything you want to get better at… I hated the fundamentals part.”
— Rand (@RandTrabulsi) August 2, 2014
Jeffery chose to become a walk-on for the University of Illinois. After an unsuccessful career there he moved on to the University of Central Florida to play alongside his brother Marcus. At the end of the day, no matter the trajectory their basketball careers took, Michael Jordan has always maintained that he is proud of his sons and simply wants them to be happy