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Michael Jordan: An American Hero (1999)

TV Movie  |  PG  |  Biography, Drama, Sport  |  18 April 1999 (USA)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Deloris Jordan
Juanita Vanoy / Juanita Jordan
Lou Rawls ...
Security guard
Chris Jacobs ...
Buzz Peterson (as Christopher Jacobs)
Curtis Age 12
Brenan T. Baird ...
Michael Age 12
Michael Dyer ...
Robbie Squires
Desi Arnez Hines II ...
Leroy Age 15 (as Desi Arnes Hines II)
Michael Age 15
Mark Mathias ...
Abel Broxton
Dari Gerard Smith ...
Michael Age 6 (as Dari G. Smith)
Del Shawn


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Biography | Drama | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for mild thematic elements




Release Date:

18 April 1999 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

American Hero: The Michael Jordan Story  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Michael Jordan returns to play for The Bulls as number 45, there is a shot of him making a slam dunk where the number on his shirt is 23, his old number. See more »


I'm Glad You're Mine
Written by Rodney Saulsberry, Peter Jay Brown and Janet Cole Valdez
Performed by Rodney Saulsberry
See more »

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User Reviews

Cheap, lacking atmosphere and development and just too simplistic
19 April 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

In the 1960's when Michael Jordan was a young boy in the suburban middle classes throwing a basketball into a dustbin instead of a hoop and playing baseball, nobody would have suspected what he would become some thirty years later. An early experience of racism perhaps puts him off baseball but he takes up basketball with the same intensity that he approaches everything. High Schools seems him working hard to get into the main school team and from there he continues into North Carolina's starting line up. It is here that he makes his name and when he is drafted by the Chicago Bulls it is only the worries of his doting parents that cause him pause.

Like most people across the globe, I'm an admirer of not only Jordan's skills but also his drive to get what he wanted – that I had a thimbleful of that motivation. So it was natural that I would take the chance to watch this film, especially since this was the first I had seen available on television in the UK. Having read the book "Playing for Keeps: Michael Jordan and the World he Made" I like to think that I am at least a bit aware of Jordan's history if nothing else and it is a shame that this film doesn't quite have the same eye for a story and for a character that the aforementioned book did. Instead the film is like a sprint through elements of the story, never missing an opportunity to simplify or turn into melodrama anything that might have approached an interesting moment. The basic story doesn't feel anywhere near as interesting or as inspiring as it really is mainly because the film just skims through things to the point where it feels more than a "by the numbers" TV filler movie than it is a true story; in fairness that is just what it is – by-the-numbers filler stuff; the subject really deserved better.

The cheap and cheerful effect is felt mainly in the script, which allows for no real character development and no development of themes. The writers knew they had to have their Jordan be competitive, learn teamwork and other things that are well known – so these things are put in in one or two scenes and then never really run through the character as a trait in the way it should have been. Outside of this there is nothing and all the actors just feel like they are reading lines and playing whatever character is easiest to do. Some have been very harsh on Jace but, having seen him do good work with a good character on The Shield, I can't help but feel sorry for him because the script gives him nothing to work with apart from basic emotions and actions. Support is no better; Hudson just plays it affable and warm, Givens has two notes to hit and just about does them. The very low budget is shown in the actual production – nobody wanted to pay out cash to use the NBA logos and such so the strips simply have the words "Chicago Bulls" written on it and the NBA logo is just a wiggley line! The game action would have struck me as being pretty damn important but it is sorely lacking; normally we see the celebrations after a win (very poor atmosphere) but the one or two shots we see in the whole film are filmed so that we assume it goes in so that Jace doesn't have to make the shot to get the take to count! Overall this is a worthy subject but a terrible film. It is cheap, poorly written, the characters are paper-thin and the game action is so lame as to make you wonder why they bothered with it at all. There is a fascinating character piece within this story and there are plenty of books that tell it reasonably well but this film is certainly not able to do anything with it. In fairness it is no worse than all the melodramatic nonsense clogging up daytime television but the fact that we all know the real story (and know it much better than this told it) means that this is a total waste of time.

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