There was a time when people would hear the name Michael B. Jordan and mistakenly picture the legendary NBA player. Today, having played an aspiring boxer in the Creed films or a ruthless Wakandan mercenary in Black Panther, he is just as well known as that other guy named Michael Jordan, and the middle initial is not even the biggest differentiator.
Born in Santa Ana, California, the 33-year-old actor is one of the most beloved superstars working today, equally admired for his work on the small screen (such as his breakout role as a teen on The Wire) as well as the big screen (having recently played real-life civil rights attorney Bryan Stevenson in Just Mercy). Michael B. Jordan’s talent has earned him first dibs to play many famous characters, at least in the eyes of his fans who vouched for him to be the next Superman.
However, no one would be disappointed if Eric Killmonger remained the peak of his comic book movie glory, but did you know he was once considered for a different MCU role first? To find out who, check out the following seven things you may not have known about Michael B. Jordan.
Michael B. Jordan Was Real Toys ‘R Us Kid
One can only imagine how jealous friends of young Michael B. Jordan were to learn that he got to be a true Toys 'R Us Kid like any child his age had dreamed of being. Indeed, making an appearance on The Sopranos in 1999, his first show business gig was modeling in Sunday newspaper advertisements for the now defunct toy store chain. Of course, I can only imagine how disappointed he must have been to learn that, despite what the song suggests, Toys 'R Us Kids do have to grow up at some point.
Michael B. Jordan Played High School Basketball, Despite Being Homeschooled
As it turns out, Michael B. Jordan does have something in common with the iconic athlete, and star of 1996's Space Jam, other than a first and last name. As a teen, the young actor made the cut for basketball team at Newark Arts High School, which he attended until his career began to take off, which led him to resort to homeschooling for his junior and senior years. Fortunately, in between shooting The Wire and studying, he still had time to continue playing for the Newark Arts team.
Michael B. Jordan’s Sister Produces Reality TV
Michael B. Jordan is the only one from his family who got into show business, but while he thrives in front of the camera, his older sibling works from behind it. His sister, Jamila Jordan, is a producer primarily of reality television and documentaries, works whose more notable projects include Ink Master, Glam Master, and the celebrity rap battle competition series Drop the Mic. Michael and Jamila also have a younger brother named Khalid Jordan who works for Mass Appeal, the record label owned by rapper Nas.
Michael B. Jordan And Chadwick Boseman Played The Same Soap Opera Character
Believe it of not, Eric Killmonger's tyrannical overthrow of T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) was technically not the first time Michael B. Jordan "took a position" once filled by his Black Panther co-star. Boseman debuted on the soap opera All My Children as troubled young man Reggie Montgomery, whose unjustly stereotypical depiction caused him to voice his reservation, ultimately getting him fired. Jordan, fresh off his role in The Wire, was hired as his replacement and playing the character would inform the actor of what sort of roles he would rather not play.
Black Panther Was Not Michael B. Jordan’s First Chance Into The MCU
Say, why don't we stir the pot a little further with some more eye-opening Marvel-related trivia about Michael B. Jordan? For instance, years before his frequent collaborator director Ryan Coogler cast him as the main antagonist of Black Panther (and even before he got the part of Johnny "Human Torch" Storm in Fantastic Four), he auditioned to play the heroic Sam Wilson, also known as Falcon, in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which would, of course, go to Anthony Mackie in the end. Around that same time, Andrew Garfield sort of jokingly suggested Jordan should play Peter Parker's love interest in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.
Michael B. Jordan Was Offered To Play Dr. Dre
Speaking, once again, of Marvel, it was Michael B. Jordan's commitment to his Chronicle director Josh Trank's reinterpretation of Fantastic Four that took the actor out of the running to play a member of another powerful group in pop culture. The actor was one of the top choices to play Dr. Dre in the 2015 NWA biopic Straight Out Compton, even favored by the legendary music producer himself. However, as he had already been cast as the Human Torch, the role would ultimately Corey Hawkins.
Michael B. Jordan Suffered A Real Knockout Filming Creed
Michael B. Jordan played the devastating role of real-life police brutality victim Oscar Grant in Fruitvale Station, his first project with writer/director Ryan Coogler, who would later put the actor through a more literally painful experience on the set of Creed. As seen in this behind-the-scenes footage, the actor received a genuine KO while filming the 2015 Rocky spin-off, which, according his onscreen boxing mentor Sylvester Stallone, was essentially Jordan's rite-of-passage into the franchise, having suffered the same injury every other time he played the Italian Stallion. In fact, it inspired the actor to endure a few punches more in Creed II.
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Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.