In October of 1993 the world’s best basketball player and arguably sports’ biggest celebrity – Michael Jordan - abruptly announced he was retiring from the NBA during the midst of his athletic prime. Theories as to why still range from the simple (he was just tired of playing) to the elaborate (it was a secret suspension for gambling from David Stern).
Regardless of his motives, the story took a historically bizarre twist when, a year later, Jordan signed a minor league deal to play baseball with the Chicago White Sox and was assigned to their Birmingham affiliate to become a traveling sideshow for people who wanted to watch the world’s greatest basketball player hit .202 and strikeout roughly one out of every four times he came to the plate.
It was clear pretty quickly that MJ didn’t quite have the same knack for domination on the diamond as he did the court and on March 18, 1995 he made his return to the NBA official by issuing one of the most succinct press releases in history. It read: “I’m back.”
The next day, Jordan was suited up for the Bulls wearing #45, occasion enough for NBC to break out a Bob Costas soliliquy
MJ pumped in 19 points in his first game back after close to two years off. Five games into his comeback, he lit up the Knicks for 55 points and over his 17 game regular season he averaged 27 points per game, bumping that up to 31 in the postseason.
Over the next three years, the Bulls and Jordan went 203-43 and won three straight NBA titles. Safe to say he chose the right sport.
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