After the Chicago Bulls won their third straight NBA Championship at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. Later that summer, Michael Jordan held a press conference to let the world know that he would be retiring from the NBA.
“I think everyone knows exactly what the circumstances are in terms of my decision not to play the game of basketball in the NBA. That doesn’t mean I’m going to play basketball somewhere else. Still, I have talked to all my confidants, my family, my friends, and as Jerry [Reinsdorf] just informed you to the organization, and I have even talked to David Stern as of yesterday and even today. I am very solid with my decision not to play the game of basketball in the NBA,” said Jordan.
“The reason being I heard a lot of different speculations, my reasons for not playing, but I have always stressed to the people that know me and the media that has followed me. When I lose the sense of motivation and the sense to prove something as a basketball player, it is time for me to move away from the game of basketball. It’s not because I don’t love the game I love the game of basketball I always will,” Jordan shared in 1993. “I just fell at this particular time in my career, I have reached the pinnacle of my career. I have achieved a lot in a short amount of time if you want to call it short, I just don’t have anything else to prove to myself.”
Jordan would try his hand at Baseball after his father, James Jordan, was murdered at a highway rest area in Lumberton, North Carolina, by two teenagers. Jordan was very close to his father, James, and knew that he always envisioned him playing professional Baseball. Jordan would pursue a career in baseball during 1994 as he signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox, which was owned by Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. It took Jordan a little awhile to get comfortable, and just we did start to come along the 1994 strike in baseball hit and abruptly end his career in baseball. He would later return to the NBA after a 21-month absence.
Ex-Magic Reveals Bulls got Fined 200k Each Time Jordan Wore 23 in the 1994 Playoffs
Michael Jordan returned to the NBA in 1994 just in time to help the Chicago Bulls secure the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a record of 47-35. The Bulls squared off with the Charlotte Hornets in the first round of the 1995 playoffs and dispatched them in four games. Next up for the Bulls was a young and hungry Orlando Magic team, which featured rising stars Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway.
There 18.1 seconds left in the fourth quarter of game one and the Bulls were up 91 to 90 Jordan was stripped by Nick Anderson and Horace Grant would finish a dunk off a pass from Hardaway. The Bulls would get another chance, but Jordan would opt to pass the ball to Scottie Pippen, and it ricocheted off his hand and out of bounds. The Bulls would go on to lose 94-91.
Former Orlando Magic guard Darrell Armstrong recently shared with me his favorite Michael Jordan moment. It came in game two of the 1995 playoff series, according to Armstrong Jordan was supposed to wear 45 due to the number 23 being retired.
“During introductions, Michael keeps his top on concealing his number, and they introduce him as number 45 from North Carolina Michael Jordan in game two. Again he kept his top on and got in the huddle on the court, took his top off, and had 23 on. I said, oh Lord, we going to lose tonight, and we lost that game, but we ended up winning the series,” said Armstrong.
“That’s probably the most incredible thing that I’ve seen someone due because us’ players are certain superstitious things such as numbers or whatever, and he had to put that number 23 back on. Every time he wore it during that series, the organization was fined $200k because once you are at a specific date, you have to keep that number. He kept wearing it anyway, but Jumpman was jumping making money, but that is one of my favorite stories on an encounter with Michael Jordan.”
Jordan exploded in game 2 with 37 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals as the Bulls would go to win 104-94. However, as Armstrong mentioned, the Magic would win the series in six games and go on to the NBA Finals. Unfortunately, for them, the would-be swept the Houston Rockets.