Michael Jordan is probably the first name that appears in the NBA GOAT debate and his legendary six rings and total domination in the league remains glimmering testament of his on-court brilliance. The fact that Jordan won those six championship rings in a three-peat of two, is ever so incredible given he had even retired from professional basketball in the middle of those two legendary campaigns.
When Jordan was only 30 and freshly crowned with his third Championship ring, he abruptly wanted to retire from basketball itself. He would soon after try his hand at baseball, a sport MJ’s late father held dear.
The heartfelt reason behind Michael Jordan’s first retirement
Before the official announcement, Michael Jordan was rumored to have discussed his early retirement plans with his Bulls teammates. However, fans assumed those baseless as MJ was at the peak of his powers during that period.
Unfortunately for his admirers, Michael Jordan shocked everyone when he first retired from the NBA in 1993 which was after he led the Bulls to their third consecutive championship.
The heartfelt reason behind his first retirement was a sad one. His father James Jordan Sr. who has been supporting his career was shot dead the same year. MJ had once thought of quitting in the past, but his father’s death was more like a push that prompted him to take the decision.
Jordan’s father was killed during a robbery in July 1993. The death of his father was so hard for him and that he wanted to honor his father’s wish to see him play baseball. He would go on to play a short stint in the MLB thereafter as a tribute to his late father.
Although there were several other reports citing different reasons for Michael Jordan’s first retirement, his father’s death appears to be the most legitimate one that made him end his beautiful NBA career untimely.
Michael Jordan announced his NBA return
Jordan’s love for basketball still brought him back to the sport. After a two-year absence, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA in 1995. His return made everyone very happy. He sent out an iconic two-word press release to announce his return, “I’m back”.
The Bulls were given fresh life upon his return, and they went on to win three more Championship titles. In 1996 and 1998, Jordan was also named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the league.
After his second retirement in 1998, he made a comeback in 2001 with the Washington Wizards. Jordan played two more seasons with the Wizards before retiring permanently in 2003.
The return of Jordan was not just about the game. It served memoir of his tireless desire for excellence and also his determination to once more prove himself. His impact on the sport went beyond numbers. MJ left a lasting legacy that continues to motivate players and fans around the world till day.