Michael Jordan, who won six NBA championships, five MVPs, 10 scoring titles and two Olympic gold medals, turns 50 on Sunday. Here are 50 reasons — from Air Jordans to the commercials to The Shot to The Shrug — why we’ll never forget His Airness.

1. Missing The Cut

In November 1978, a 15-year-old “Mike” Jordan tried out for the varsity team at Laney High in Wilmington, N.C. A 5-foot-10 sophomore, Jordan was just one of many competing for 15 spots on varsity and 15 more on junior varsity. Jordan didn’t make varsity, famously using the snub as fuel for his competitive fire.

But his coach tells a different story. “They criticized me for cutting Michael Jordan,” Clifton (Pop) Herring told Thomas Lake in the Jan. 16, 2012, issue of Sports Illustrated. “[But] he was placed on the junior varsity level. He wasn’t cut away from the game that made him.” Jordan made varsity his junior and senior year, eventually earning a scholarship to North Carolina.

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