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10 moments that defined Michael Jordan's basketball career

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10 moments that defined Michael Jordan's basketball career

Michael Jordan and UNC defeated Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the 1982 NCAA Championship game. As a freshman, Jordan hit the game-winning shot.

(Photo by Georgetown/Collegiate Images/Getty Images.)

Jordan turned in a legendary playoff performance by scoring 63 points against Larry Bird and the vaunted Boston Celtics in 1986. 

(Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jordan's performance in the 1988 dunk contest, where he defeated Dominique Wilkins in the final, became synonymous with the man dubbed "His Airness."

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

Jordan hit the game-winning jumper, dubbed "The Shot," over the Cleveland Cavaliers' Craig Ehlo that decided the 1989 Eastern Conference First Round playoff series.

(Ed Wagner Jr./Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

Jordan led the United States to gold in the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. With professional players allowed in the tournament for the first time, the "Dream Team" is widely credited for boosting basketball's profile on the global stage.

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

In Game 5 of the 1997 NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz, Jordan turned in a monster, 38-point performance all while clearly struggling with the flu. Dubbed "The Flu Game," Jordan's performance is considered typifying of his legendary competitive nature.

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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The greatest to ever play the game of basketball, Michael Jordan left behind a sporting legacy of which most athletes can only dream. A prolific scorer, tenacious defender and high-flying dunker, Jordan electrified the NBA in a playing career that crossed three decades and just as many retirements.

Further, Jordan revolutionized the position of the athlete in the digital age by cultivating an individual brand through movie appearances, iconic ad campaigns and the development of his own line of shoes and apparel.

SEE ALSO: The all-overachiever NBA team of the 1st half

Collecting all the highlights from Jordan's career would be an impossible task, so instead celebrate Jordan's 52nd birthday by enjoying 10 on-the-court moments that defined MJ's basketball brilliance.

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