Ever since his eye-catching turn as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens in Marvel’s Black Panther, Michael B. Jordan’s name has been on everyone’s lips and in a lot of our dreams. This guy isn’t a Hollywood newbie, though: Jordan has been turning heads and stealing scenes for almost 20 years already. Here are 42 facts about this talented, thoughtful, and surprisingly nerdy heartthrob.
Michael B. Jordan Facts
42. Noble Promise
The “B.” in Michael B. Jordan stands for “Bakari,” which means “Noble Promise” in Swahili.
41. Talent Runs in the Family
Jordan has two siblings. His big sister Jamila works in production, and his little brother Khalid played football at Howard University.
40. Getting Noticed
BuddyTV ranked Jordan #80 on its list of “TV’s Sexiest Men of 2011” while he had a recurring role on NBC’s Parenthood.
39. High Praise
In 2013, when Jordan starred in Ryan Coogler’s film Fruitvale Station, he was compared to “a young Denzel Washington” by film critic Todd McCarthy. That ain’t half bad!
38. Fantastic Flop
Jordan appeared as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, in 2015’s Fantastic Four. The film flopped hard, earning a mere 9% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. We still love you though, Michael!
37. The Work Paid Off
To prepare for the role of Adonis Creed in Creed (2015)—his second collaboration with director Ryan Coogler—Jordan underwent ten months of intense physical training. He had to work out two or three times a day, six days a week. I’ve seen the movie, and let’s just say that it shows.
36. Working Up an Appetite
Training for his role in Creed didn’t just mean lots of exercise. In order to pack on the muscles, Jordan also had to eat every two-and-a-half hours. This is not what happens to my body when I eat that often…
35. Baby Face
It’s a good thing that scruff looks so good on him—Jordan once confessed to Conan O’Brien that he can’t grow a full beard.
34. Family Ties
Most of us dream of hitting it big and finally moving out of our parents’ place. Not Jordan—he used his fortune to buy a mansion in the San Fernando Valley, where he now lives with his mom and dad.
33. Revenge of the Nerd
Jordan is the geek of your dreams. He’s a huge anime and comic book fan, and his favorite superhero is Black Bolt from Inhumans. Why not Black Panther??
Michael B. Jordan’s dad is named Michael A. Jordan. I know we all want him to bring a little Michael C. into the world, but don’t hold your breath—he says he won’t go with that name if he ever has a son.
31. What’s in a Name?
How does it feel to share a name with the greatest basketball player of all time? Jordan admits, “It gets annoying.” There’s a reason he uses that middle initial.
30. Basketball Star
He might not be as good as the NBA’s Michael Jordan, but Michael B. does have some basketball chops. Even though he was homeschooled as a kid, he was allowed to play basketball with Newark Arts High School’s team.
29. Stars Aligning
Michael B. doesn’t want to meet that other Michael Jordan just yet. Though his star is rising, he wants to wait until he can meet the NBA icon on equal footing and share mutual respect. I’m a big fan and all Michael, but that might be a little hard to manage.
28. Making a Name
Jordan never let the other Michael Jordan’s fame hold him back. In fact, that provided the inspiration to make a name for himself. As he once said, “I always wanted my name to mean something based upon the work that I put in. It wouldn’t be just a comparison to that guy, I would have my own legacy.” Can’t fault him for that.
27. A Small Misunderstanding
Having the same name as the other Michael Jordan can have its perks. One time, Jordan received a $40,000 royalty check that was meant for the NBA legend.
26. Play It Again
Jordan appeared in a series of Apple ads in 2016 with basketball star Kobe Bryant. The two reunited in a series of scenes for NBA 2K17 that echoed their Apple commercials.
25. Speaking Up
Jordan isn’t just an incredible actor, he’s also an activist, working to bring awareness to police brutality and lupus, which his mother suffers from. Due to his efforts, he was named among TIME magazine’s “30 People Under 30 People Changing the World.”
24. Sending a Message
Jordan stays true to his values. He was hesitant at first about taking on the role of Guy Montag in the film adaptation of Farenheit 451. As Jordan told Men’s Health magazine, “I wasn’t exactly sure if I wanted to play an authority figure due to the relationship between my community and the police.” He came around when he learned what the movie’s message would be.
23. The Kid’s Alright
After doing some modelling work and a few minor acting roles, Jordan’s first major gigs came with single-episode TV appearances on Cosby and The Sopranos at only 12 years old! When I was 12, I couldn’t even get a part in the school play.
22. Playing Favorites
Jordan has already appeared in three films by director Ryan Coogler: Fruitvale Station, Creed, and Black Panther. The two are now collaborating for a fourth time, on the movie Wrong Answer, based on a standardized-test cheating scandal in Atlanta public schools.
21. Taking It on the Chin
Normally, thanks to the magic of stage combat, people aren’t really taking hard knocks when they fight on screen—unless Sylvester Stallone is calling the shots. Stallone, who took some serious punches while filming the original Rocky movies, instructed Jordan to “take it” during the filming of Creed, and so many of the takes showing Jordan getting punched in the face are real.
20. Filling the Trophy Case
Jordan’s first big nomination was for a Soap Opera Digest Award in 2005. He has since won a Hollywood Film Award, a National Board of Review of Motion Pictures Award, and an NAACP Image Award for “Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture.”
19. Doing His Homework
In Fruitvale Station, Jordan starred as Oscar Grant, a real-life victim of police violence who was killed on New Years Day in 2009. Jordan threw himself into the role, spending a lot of time with Grant’s family and friends in order to prepare.
When Michael B. Jordan was cast in the film Chronicle, the filmmakers had to rewrite his part. Originally, Jordan’s character Steve Montgomery was written as Steve Kazinsky—a white kid. Later, Jordan remarked “Those are the type of colorless roles that I want, that I’m looking forward to playing.”
17. Makes You Think
Jordan has made a name for himself playing difficult, thought-provoking roles—and it’s all part of the plan, saying “I’m not chasing money, I’m not chasing fame. I’m out here in my own time doing things that matter to me, and I feel like would matter to people. That’s honestly it. I want to do roles that f**king people think about.”
16. Raising His Voice
Yes, Jordan is great to look at, but he has an excellent voice, too. You can catch his voiceover performances in the video game Gears of War III, and animated comic book adaptation Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox.
15. Where’s Wallace?
If you’ve seen the iconic HBO series The Wire, you probably remember the chilling question, “Where’s Wallace at?” That’s Jordan playing the young drug dealer Wallace in the show’s first season.
14. Nose Knows
In case you’re wondering, Jordan has said that he likes women who wear light, floral scents and have a laid-back personality. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to place a perfume order.
13. In Demand
Jordan’s star is rising, and 2018 looks like it’s going to be a busy year for him. Jordan currently has five films in the works, including Creed II and Fahrenheit 451.
12. Breaking Down Barriers
Jordan has a history of taking on roles that weren’t written for African-Americans. In addition to Chronicle, Jordan’s character Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four was previously depicted as white, and so was protagonist Guy Montag in Farenheit 451.
11. Be the Change
Not only does Jordan have his own production company, “Outlier Society,” he’s using it to bring about positive changes in the film industry. Jordan recently announced that the company will start using inclusion riders—contracts that encourage diversity and equality in all their projects.
Jordan’s inclusion rider is already making an impact in Hollywood. He’s inspired Ben Affleck and Matt Damon to start including a diversity clause in future projects that their production company, Pearl Street Films, takes on.
9. Cover Boy
2013 was the year magazines fell in love with Jordan. That year, he made Variety’s “Top 10 Actors to Watch” list and GQ’s “Most Stylish Men” list, and appeared in People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” issue.
8. Bouncing Back
Both Chris Evans and Jordan have played the role of Johnny Storm (the Human Torch) in film adaptations of the Fantastic Four. Though those movies failed miserably, both Evans and Jordan went on to get prominent roles in major MCU films (Evans, in case you didn’t know, plays Captain America).
7. Who Do You Love?
Jordan is very private about his love life, but that doesn’t stop people from talking. Rumors briefly swirled around him and Kendall Jenner, but now he’s linked to the beautiful Ashlyn Castro.
6. Soap Stud
Jordan has appeared in some of the most iconic TV shows of all time, such as The Wire, Friday Night Lights, CSI, Parenthood, and House. He’s also a soap star, having appeared in the cast of All My Children from 2003–2006. Everyone has to start somewhere!
5. Third Time’s a Charm
Before getting cast as Erik “Killmonger” Stevens in Black Panther, Jordan was turned down for roles in two other superhero movies: The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. We’re all thankful he didn’t give up on the MCU.
4. Dream Role
Though we all know that he crushed it as Killmonger in Black Panther, Jordan originally wanted to play the lead role of T’Challa, the Black Panther. Gotta say, that casting director knew what they were doing.
3. Moving On
Though acting roles are piling up for Jordan, he intends to start spending more time behind the camera. He’s signed on to produce The Liberators, a film about the desegregation of the armed forces, and wants to get into directing and other creative pursuits. Don’t worry—Jordan plans to keep acting, but only in projects he’s “really passionate about.”
2. Off to an Early Start
Jordan’s parents wanted to encourage their son to develop lots of talents, so as a kid he learned acting, basketball, and even tap dancing! All that hard work took him places: By age 10, Jordan was modelling for newspaper ads. Jordan in a Singin’ in the Rain reboot? Anyone?
1. Flash Those Pearly Whites
The world fell a little bit more in love with Jordan after a fan confessed on Twitter that she clenched her teeth so hard that she broke her retainer while watching a shirtless Jordan in Black Panther—and Jordan offered to pay for the replacement.