This one was a surprise to many. Even Phil Jackson didn't know until the Bulls owner called him, begging him to make Jordan stay. Phil's response was classic Phil, "I can't make Michael do anything he doesn't want to."
The 1993 timeline went something like this:
June-Bulls win third straight NBA title.
July-Father found murdered
October-Jordan announces his desicion to retire from basketball only days before the season opener.
While everybody understood why Michael retired, it was still shocking how quickly he did it so close the beginning of the 93-94 season. Michael had just won his third straight NBA championship, became the first player to win three straight NBA Finals MVP awards and the first player to average 40 points per game in a Finals series.
The loss of his father was also weighing on him heavily. In his press conference, he talked about his desire for the game not being there, and he did not believe he could go on playing when he had accomplished everything he set out to do.
Now, if all this wasn't shocking enough to the sports world, that next spring, Michael started tryouts for the White Sox. Upon being asked why he is trying out for the White Sox, he answers, "because my family lives in Chicago." After a couple setbacks, he had a 51 RBI, 30 stolen base season in the minor league.
Icing on the cake with this slide is that after that season, he came back to the Bulls and won three straight championships again!