When Michael Jordan made a shocking announcement to retire from NBA in 1993, the then Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson tried to convince him to stay.
Jordan’s announcement in 1993 was undeniably the biggest news of the year. He had attained a superstar stature in the NBA and was being considered among the all-time best players. He had just won three consecutive Championships and three Finals MVP awards. At 31, age and fitness hardly seemed to be a concern for a hardworking Jordan.
The seventh episode of ESPN’s docuseries on Jordan- The Last Dance- concentrated on his first retirement. In the episode, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf said he didn’t make many attempts to stop Jordan but told him to meet with Jackson before making up his mind.
Jordan had a private meeting with Jackson who couldn’t convince him to stay. “This was, you know, a young man that had gone through some heart-rending things. You’re denying a gift to society, but I understand. You know, I understand,” he said.
It was also a time when Jordan had recently lost his father. James Jordan was murdered in July 1993 and his body was found in a river only after a few days after the murder. Two teenagers would later be identified as the murderers.
While saying he had lost the desire to play, Jordan also cited his father’s death among the reasons to quit basketball at that time.
The return of Michael Jordan and a second three-peat
After retiring from basketball, Jordan made another surprising announcement of him playing in the Minor Baseball League (MiLB). Without Jordan, the Bulls made it to the playoffs in the 1993/94 season but lost in the second round.
As the Bulls got into their second season without Jordan, they found themselves struggling for a place in the playoffs. It was when there was an ongoing MLB strike that eventually canceled their season that year.
Jordan ended his baseball stint and rejoined the Bulls mid-season. Although he wasn’t at his fittest, he came back strongly and led the Bulls to the playoffs.
After losing to Orlando Magic in the playoffs, Jordan and co. would win the next three seasons imbibing another incredible three-peat in their history.