This Day In Sports: MJ’s First Retirement


Michael Jordan was one of the top basketball players to ever play the game. Many argue that he is the greatest of all time. His combination of defense and offense made coaches pull their hairs out when he stepped on the court.

Selected by the Bulls as the third overall pick in the 1984 draft, they looked like an instant potential threat in the Eastern Conference. However, the first years of his career, he had to face the greatest dynasties ever, including Celtic’s all star Larry Bird and the Pistons’ well known Isiah Thomas.

Through all adversity that Jordan faced in his early years, the addition of key players like Scottie Pippen and head coach Phil Jackson, made it look as if they were finally going to get over the hump.

In the end, The Chicago bulls dominated the 90’s, winning three consecutive championships from 1991 through 1993 and again from 1996 to 1998. He probably could have won more if he hadn’t suddenly retired from the NBA on October 6th, 1993. But why?

Why would a superstar like Jordan, after winning his third championship, who was viewed as the best player in the NBA even want to retire? We would have to go back to his second championship accomplishment to make sense of his sudden departure.

Around that same time, the court was testifying Jordan to see his ties to James “Slim” Bouler, a convicted drug dealer who was charged with drug and money-laundering. Why would a drug dealer have a check from a superstar like Michael Jordan?

Marcel Smith, from Bleacher Report, gives details about the investigation. “First, Jordan claimed it was a business loan, but under oath he admitted that it was a payment for gambling losses on a single weekend.”

Another one of Jordan’s gambling problems surfaced when Richard Esquinas book, Michael and Me: Our Gambling Addiction…My Cry for Help came out. He lost patience when Jordan never gave him all the money he owed, thus, releasing the book.

The NBA then took action by investigating Jordan to see if he violated any of the league’s policies. Four months after the investigation, he retired and days after his retirement, the league stopped the investigation.

During a press conference, Jordan said if he were to ever come back, it would be under very specific circumstances.

“Five years down the road, if the urge comes back, if the Bulls will have me, if David Stern lets me back in the league, I may come back.”

Maybe those words are taking out of context but why wouldn’t David Stern, The NBA’s former commissioner want him back? Why would the investigation stop after Jordan suddenly retired?

Jordan would eventually spend his retirement from basketball playing Minor League Baseball for the Birmingham Barons.

Jordan’s first retirement came as a shock to many but was it an inside job? Was the agreement kept secretly so the image of the great MJ23 won’t be broken?  Jordan would later on come out of retirement on March 18th 1995, in a two-page NBA press release saying, “I’m Back”. His career accomplishments would always foreshadow his gambling problems and we might never know the truth, but the NBA did a fantastic job on never hurting his image and in conclusion, marks him as one of the greatest players to ever play the game respectively.

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