In honor of Michael Jordan’s 50th birthday, here’s a photograph I made from his rookie year as a member of the Chicago Bulls.
Back then the Chicago Tribune had a crew of 3 people that shot sports full time. I was a general assignment photographer (and virtually a rookie, too having started at the paper in 1983) and the paper would often have me shoot some sports in addition to my other assignments.
So for this assignment, I was the “early guy”. This person would shoot for the first quarter (or a predetermined amount of time, depending on the game time and newspaper deadlines) and then beat feet back to the paper with the color from the sports photographer and their own black and white film shot for the early editions of the paper.
This was from a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Jordan, even in his rookie year, showcased his skills which would only get better and become dominant in the league then and to this day.
My former colleague Chuck Cherney was shooting the color for the later editions and we actually had almost identical photographs from slightly different positions.
For this image I used a Nikon F3 camera, a 135 f2 lens and good old Tri-X film pushed to about 1600 to get the sports photographers signature camera settings 1/500th at f2.8.