Report: Michael Jordan Retired in 1993 in Part to Send Message to Jerry Krause

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 18, 2020

DEERFIELD, IL - OCTOBER 6:  Michael Jordan #23 of the Chicago Bulls speaks to the media during his Retirement Press Conference on October 6, 1993 at the Chicago Bulls Practice Facility in in Deerfield, Illinois.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 1988 NBAE (Photo by Lou Capozzola/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Anyone who watched The Last Dance documentary knows Michael Jordan was no stranger to grudges.

According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Air Jordan's grudge against then-Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was so strong that it drove him to retire in the middle of his prime following a third straight championship in 1993.

"The documentary also skipped the major reason Jordan retired for baseball," Berman wrote. "According to an NBA source, the one-year leave was Jordan's message to hated GM Jerry Krause: See if you can win a title with your guy Toni Kukoc."

The Last Dance chronicled a game between the United States and Croatia in the 1992 Olympics in which Jordan and Scottie Pippen teamed up to stifle Kukoc's every move in part because they were annoyed Krause wanted to bring the Croatian star to the Bulls before paying Pippen a notable contract.

Part of the documentary also explored the conspiracy theories around Jordan's first retirement, including the suggestion it was actually a suspension from then-NBA Commissioner David Stern because of His Airness' gambling.

"Ridiculous, no basis in facts," Stern said in The Last Dance.

The 1993-94 Bulls team did not win a championship with Kukoc while Jordan was playing baseball for the Double-A Birmingham Barons, but they were still a solid team that won 55 regular-season games and pushed the New York Knicks to seven games in a heated second-round playoff series.

As Berman noted, the Knicks benefited from a questionable call that may have prevented Chicago from advancing.

Jordan ultimately returned for the final 17 games of the 1994-95 season and led Chicago to its second three-peat in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He cemented his legacy with six championships and surely proved to Krause how important he was for the dynasty that defined the NBA in the 1990s.