Jordan's Magical Place in History It's Time to Appreciate His Wondrous Gifts

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Byline: Mark Alesia Daily Herald Sports Feature Writer

The NBA doesn't mind making its millionaires earn some of that cash by working on Christmas. So in that spirit, if not exactly that of the season, this story is about receiving.

About personal glory.

About pencil-pushing, bean-counting stat guys with visions of the quadratic equation dancing in their heads.

About Michael Jordan's place in the NBA record book.

A year from now, the Bulls probably won't be on television, as they have been for seven of the past eight years on Christmas. A year from now, it might only be the start of the Floyd-Kukoc-LaRue era of Bulls basketball. All that might be left are memories of Jordan.

The NBA made a list for its record book, and we're checking it twice in anticipation of the greatest athlete in Chicago history retiring. So maybe this is in the spirit of the season, after all. Something about appreciating what you have. Yeah, that's it. A Christmas story.

Jordan's records can be divided into three categories: Write It In Stone (records that won't be broken); The Basics (points, assists, etc.) and Just Because He's Michael (field goal attempts, free throw attempts, etc.).

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Write It In Stone:

- Five most valuable player awards in the NBA Finals

Five trips to the finals, five rings, five MVP awards. Jordan will be wearing Reeboks and eating Whoppers before anyone matches that.

Magic Johnson's three MVP awards in the finals rank second. The only caveat here, and it applies to all the records, is that as the league moves toward drafting kids out of junior high school, an elite group of stars will have longer careers and more time to amass statistics.

- Nine seasons leading the league in scoring

Wilt Chamberlain did it for seven years. Jordan, who leads the league in scoring again this year, is on his way to a 10th scoring title. He also has the record for most consecutive seasons leading the league in scoring - seven. Write that one in stone, too. …