Why Michael Jordan Was Forced to Wear #12 Jersey for a Chicago Bulls Game

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Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan wore the number 23 jersey throughout his career. So when for the first time he was forced to wear another number, he was left frustrated.

On Valentine’s Day, 1990, Jordan and the Bulls had an away game against the Magic. But hours before the game, Jordan’s iconic number 23 jersey was stolen. The staff wasn’t able to find it and in desperation; they tried to search for a number 23 jersey in the crowd that would fit Jordan.

After these futile attempts, the staff gave Jordan a spare jersey, which had no name, just the number 12. “That has never happened to me before,” Jordan said before the game. “It’s pretty irritating because you’re accustomed to certain things and you don’t like to have things misplaced.

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An iconic Valentine’s Day performance from Michael Jordan

Entering the game, Jordan took matters into his own hands. In the OT thriller, Jordan scored a whopping 49 points, off a whopping 43 shots. It was the second most shots he had ever taken in an NBA game. After three quarters, the Bulls were leading, but then a fourth quarter collapse led to overtime.

The Bulls fell short in overtime, losing 129-135 to the Magic, and Jordan’s valiant effort went in vain. While he shone, the other players didn’t have their best game. Star Scottie Pippen shot terribly going 6/21 from the field and looked out of touch. He just had 15 points, and the Bulls succumbed to their 5th loss in six games.

Orlando Magic reveals how the jersey was stolen

Earlier this year, Rodney Powell, the Magic’s Director of Team Operations, revealed the course of events of that jersey heist.

“One of their personnel had set up a plan to get the jersey, had actually gone through another locker room, climbed over the ceilings, came through a ceiling tile, grabbed the jersey, put it back in the ceiling,” Powell said. “Planning for, I guess, a few days later to come back and get it after thinking no one would figure it out.”

The Magic never revealed the name of the involved personnel, but this incident is one of the most unique incidents. Jordan never wore the number 12 jersey again and continued to terrorize defenses in his iconic number 23 jersey.

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