From basketball to baseball and back again before retiring Michael Jordan’s career wasn’t boring
Michael Jordan was the undisputed king of basketball in 1993 after he’d led the Chicago Bulls to their third consecutive NBA title. He’d become the first player in NBA history to win three consecutive MVP awards in the NBA Finals Series, and he was only 30 years old.
Shortly afterwards, his world came crashing down when his father was murdered. Three months later, Jordan announced his retirement from basketball, stating that he’d lost his desire to play and that the loss of his father was a factor. He was very close to his Dad.
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A shock announcement
Early in 1994, Jordan shocked the sporting world when he announced that he was signing a baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox. At the time, Jordan said he was pursuing his father’s dream of him becoming a Major League Baseball player. His famous number 23 singlet was retired by the Bulls after his retirement announcement.
Jordan played Minor League Baseball in 1994 with both the Birmingham Barons and the Scottsdale Scorpions, feeder teams to the White Sox. He had mixed results that included 3 home runs in among 114 strikeouts. The Bulls lost in the second round of the NBA playoffs in the first year of his absence.
In early 1995, Jordan quit baseball and announced his return to the Chicago Bulls with a two-word press release: “I’m back”. The Bulls were halfway through their second season without him when he returned. Jordan decided to take number 45 for his basketball comeback, which was his baseball number.
Jordan quickly showed he’d lost none of his basketball skills during his eighteen-month retirement. He helped the struggling Bulls to the playoffs, where he also resumed wearing his iconic number 23 singlet.
Over the next three NBA seasons, Jordan led the Bulls to another three-peat of titles. He didn’t miss a single game in all three seasons. He was also the NBA Finals MVP in all three matches of this second three-peat, just like he had been in the first.
The second three-peat included some of the most dramatic moments of Michael Jordan’s decorated career, including:
a jump shot on the buzzer to win Game 1 of the 97 NBA Finals Series for the Bulls against the Utah Jazz.
a three-point bomb with 25 seconds to go to win Game 5 of the same series, a match he played in despite suffering from the flu.
sinking two baskets in the last 41 seconds of Game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals Series (also against the Utah Jazz) to clinch the Bulls’ second three-peat.
During his comeback stint with the Bulls Jordan also:
won three NBA scoring titles.
was named in the NBA’s All-Defensive team in each of his three championship-winning seasons.
He was the complete player at both ends of the court and is the only player in NBA history to captain his team to six titles.
Jordan was also paid more than the rest of his team-mates combined for the 1998 season. He was paid 8-times as much as Scottie Pippen, the second-highest paid player in the Bulls squad!
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