Michael Jordan almost went to UVA?

Across the world, sports appear to be at a complete halt. No games, no fantasy leagues, drafts occurring virtually from players’ living rooms, and commentators left to make guesses about when sports will return. Many fans have been eager to find something to watch, talk about, and debate over in the world of sports. ESPN’s release of The Last Dance, a 10-part documentary series about Michael Jordan’s career has provided just that. Not only did the documentary make home isolation monumentally more bearable for basketball fans everywhere, it also started various conversations about the past of basketball and its legends. 


With the release of the documentary, UVA fans discovered that the University of Virginia was originally above UNC Chapel Hill on Jordan’s list of schools that he considered playing for in college. Jordan was hardly a top recruit coming out of highschool, so it was  not surprising that UCLA, his dream school, overlooked him.  Because of his low recruiting rating, he was reaching out to other schools to come see him play on his own. With that said, it is difficult for UVA fans to understand how Jordan slipped through the cracks for Virginia especially looking back on how dominant his career was and the timeless impact he had on the game of basketball.


Upon the release of the documentary, an interview Jordan did with Playboy in 1992 was dug up and quickly shared across social media because of his comments about his recruitment process. Jordan explained that before visiting UNC, and after realizing that UCLA would not recruit him, he looked into playing at The University of Virginia. He expressed his desire to play with now hall-of-famer Ralph Sampson in his last two years at Virginia. Jordan reached out to Virginia with his intentions, and they responded by sending him an admission form. He was underwhelmed with their process and did not feel welcomed. “No one came and watched me,” said Jordan. After visiting UNC, he described his experience as much more personal and said that he committed because he was “happy with the atmosphere”.


With very little to talk about in sports right now, Jordan’s recruitment scenario itself has become an entertaining discussion for sports fans, specifically at Virgina. It has been fascinating to imagine ‘what could have been’ if Virginia recruiters in 1981 had not allowed for possibly the biggest recruiting miss in the program’s history.


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