Jordan, 33, has been lovingly nicknamed Michael “Bae” Jordan by fans for years, so this will likely come as a welcome surprise to the actor;s die-hard fan base. The screen king who’s next to star in Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse tells PEOPLE that the women in his family “are definitely proud of this one.” We bet.
Despite the many A-list big-screen roles he’s nabbed, Jordan admits he never thought he’d actually get to claim this title.
“It’s a cool feeling,” he tells PEOPLE. “You know, everybody always made that joke, like, ‘Mike, this is the one thing you’re probably not going to get.’ But it’s a good club to be a part of.”
In the cover story, Jordan also shared that his family has followed PEOPLE’s iconic list for years. “When my grandmother was alive, it was something that she collected, and then my mom naturally reads it a lot and my aunts as well,” the Black Panther star told PEOPLE. “This is one that they’re definitely going to have a special place for.”
And speaking of, Jordan won over the hearts of his fans by meticulously selecting one scene-stealing leading role after another, including his turn as Adonis, in 2015’s Creed and villain Erik Killmonger in the record-smashing Marvel hit Black Panther. In between roles he’s also lent his voice to politics and encouraging fans to get out in vote in their local elections.
It’s hard to imagine how someone whose had as much fame and success as the Fruitvale Station star has by 33 could remain humble, but the actor revealed that his path to peace began with letting go. Jordan told PEOPLE the secret to his personal confidence came in “fully realizing that you can’t make everybody happy.”
“You could have all the good intentions in the world, and you’ll still get controversy or some type of negativity thrown your way,” he said. “Sometimes you’ve just got to trust the universe, you know? You’ve got to just believe in yourself and do what you feel is really right. I think that adds up.”
Black leading men are really taking over this list—Idris Elba took home the illustrious title in 2018 and John Legend held the honor down last year.