With March Madness tipping off today we’ve decided to take a look back at when MJ himself was an NCAA athlete, long before he rose to dominance in the NBA. His college career was of course spent at the University of North Carolina, with Michael earning a basketball scholarship off the strength of his high school merits and opting to pursue college in his home state back in 1981. It was there that his greatness started to solidify, as he immediately gained recognition with an ACC Freshmen of the Year award and a clutch shot to lock up the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown. Further awards included the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year in 1984, no doubt helping Jordan in his decision to leave school a year early to enter the 1984 NBA Draft.

Keep in mind all this came at a time before Michael Jordan ever became a Nike athlete, so shots from the era provide a rare look into his footwear choices before the Air Jordan days. Back then the whole UNC squad was repping Converse, as manifested here with the shots shown of Jordan laced up in the Converse Pro Leather and Pro Star. The signature soft blue and white look of the UNC colors was of course intact in those sneakers, a colorway that the Jordan Brand line has long since celebrated in their own way. Check out our gallery below for some great vintage shots from Michael Jordan’s college years and stick with Jordans Daily for all your Michael Jordan history. Images via Sneaker News