The Story And Legend Of Michael Jordan – Part 1
I must admit that posting this story comes with a certain amount of personal trepidation…..for on the one hand, I have been a lifelong Boston Celtics fan….who is of the opinion that Bill Russell is the greatest NBA player of all time…..simply by virtue of his 11 NBA Championships (with 8 in a row from 1959 to 1966)…..but on the other hand, I consider Michael Jordan to have the best basketball skills for any player of all time (with Larry Bird and Magic Johnson just a tic behind). However, those discussions are for another time…..cuz today ImaSportsphile gets to salute and showcase the man known as M J, “His Airness….who took the NBA game “above the rim with his space jams”…..and set the standard for all future great players to follow. So, this is the story and the legend of Michael Jordan…..who was a basketball genius unlike any other…..and never to be seen again…..for we can’t wait to tell his story……and provide the greatest collection of highlight footage ever assembled for one athlete. For many reasons, I am going to lead off this post of a truly incredible athlete….and probably the most talented basketball player to ever play the game….with an impressive documentary about The Dream Team…..which I absolutely enjoy….cuz it is a story of how the unquestionably greatest team to ever be assembled….while consisting of 11 Hall of Fame players…..with egos bigger than Texas…..and how the came together in an uncanny way to showcase each players unreal talents…..in the way the game of basketball is meant to be played…..as a team….cuz the fact remains, there is no “i” in team.
NCAAM & NBA – 1965 To 1988 – CBS/FOX NBA Special Film – Michael Jordan: “Come Fly With Me”
Michael Jeffrey Jordan (born February 17, 1963), also known by his initials MJ, is an American businessman and former professional basketball player….who played fifteen seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA)…..while winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls. Jordan is currently (July 2022) the principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA…..and of 23XI Racing in the NASCAR Cup Series. His biography on the official NBA website states: “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.”…..as he was integral in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980’s and 1990’s…..when he became a global cultural icon in the process…..who was known for being also called His Airness mostly as a result of the global popularity of his Nike Air Jordan shoe.
NBA – 1984 To 2003 Special – “Michael Jordan Top 50 All Time Plays”
Jordan played college basketball for three seasons under coach Dean Smith with the North Carolina Tar Heels…..when as a freshman, he was a member of the Tar Heels’ national championship team in 1982. Jordan joined the NBA’s Chicago Bulls in 1984…..as the 3rd overall draft pick…..and not long thereafter emerged as a league star…..while entertaining the crowds with his prolific scoring and high flying acts…..while gaining a reputation as one of the game’s best defensive players…..as his leaping ability, demonstrated by performing slam dunks from the free-throw line in Slam Dunk Contests, earned him the nicknames “Air Jordan“ and “His Airness“. Jordan won his 1st of 6 NBA titles with the Bulls in 1991…..and followed that achievement with titles in 1992 and 1993….while securing a three-peat…..then Jordan abruptly retired from basketball before the 1993–94 NBA season to play Minor League Baseball…..but returned to the Bulls in March 1995….and led them to three more championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998….along with a then-league record 72 regular season wins in the 1995–96 NBA season. He retired for the 2nd time in January 1999…..but returned for two more NBA seasons from 2001 to 2003 as a member of the Washington Wizards.
NCAA Basketball & NBA – 1981 To 2003 – Bored Film Special Documentary – “Air Jordan”
Jordan’s individual accolades and accomplishments include six NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards…..ten NBA scoring titles (both all-time records)…..five NBA MVP awards…..ten All-NBA First Team designations…. nine All-Defensive First Team honors…..fourteen NBA All-Star Game selections…..three NBA All-Star Game MVP awards…..three NBA steals titles …..and the 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In 1999, he was named the 20th century’s greatest North American athlete by ESPN….and was 2nd to Babe Ruth on the Associated Press’ list of athletes of the century. Jordan was twice inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, once in 2009 for his individual career, and again in 2010 as part of the 1992 United States men’s Olympic basketball team (“The Dream Team”). He became a member of the United States Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009, a member of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 2010 and an individual member of the FIBA Hall of Fame in 2015 and a “Dream Team” member in 2017.
NBA – 2017 – Special – The Interview With Marvin R. Shanken of Cigar Aficionado – “Sitting Down With Michael Jordan”
One of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation, Jordan is known for his product endorsements. He fueled the success of Nike’s Air Jordan sneakers…..which were introduced in 1984 and remain popular today. Jordan also starred as himself in the 1996 live-action animation hybrid film Space Jam…..and is the central focus of the Emmy Award-winning documentary miniseries The Last Dance (2020). He became part-owner and head of basketball operations for the Charlotte Bobcats (now named the Hornets) in 2006…..and bought a controlling interest in 2010. In 2016, Jordan became the first billionaire player in NBA history. As of 2022, his net worth is estimated at $2.1 billion.
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 1 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 2 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 3 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 4 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 5 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 6 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 7 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
NBA – 1984 To 1998 – Special Documentary – “The Last Dance” – Episode 8 – Michael Jordan: “The Legend Journey”
Jordan was born at Cumberland Hospital in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, New York City, on February 17, 1963, the son of bank employee Deloris (née Peoples) and equipment supervisor James R. Jordan Sr. In 1968, he moved with his family to Wilmington, North Carolina….where Jordan attended Emsley A. Laney High School in Wilmington….when he highlighted his athletic career by playing basketball, baseball and football. He tried out for the basketball varsity team during his sophomore year at 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m)….and was deemed too short to play at that level…..as his taller friend Harvest Leroy Smith was the only sophomore to make the team…..so, motivated to prove his worth, Jordan became the star of Laney’s junior varsity team….and tallied some 40-point games. The following summer, he grew four inches (10 cm) and trained rigorously…..when upon earning a spot on the varsity roster, Jordan averaged more than 25 points per game over his final two seasons of high school play. As a senior, he was selected to play in the 1981 McDonald’s All-American Game and scored 30 points…..which was after averaging 27 points, 12 rebounds and six assists per game for the season. Jordan was recruited by numerous college basketball programs, including Duke, North Carolina, South Carolina, Syracuse, and Virginia…..when in 1981, he accepted a basketball scholarship to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill….. where he majored in cultural geography.
NBA – 1984 To 2003 – Special – “Times Michael Jordan HUMILIATED His Opponents”
As a freshman in coach Dean Smith’s team-oriented system, Jordan was named ACC Freshman of the Year after he averaged 13.4 ppg on 53.4% shooting percentage from the field…..when he made the game-winning shot in the 1982 NCAA Championship game against Georgetown University….. which was led by future NBA rival Patrick Ewing. Jordan later described this shot as the major turning point in his basketball career. During his three seasons with the Tar Heels, he averaged 17.7 ppg on 54% shooting, 5.0 rpg and 1.8 apg.
NCAA Basketball – 1981 & 1982 To 1984 – Highlights of Michael Jordan & Len Bias – At The Five Star Basketball Camp + ACC Contests of Maryland Vs UNC
NCAA Basketball – 1982 Thru 1984 – Special – Michael Jordan: “NCAA Tournament Highlights of Top Plays”
NCAA Basketball – 1981 Thru 1984 – A Clutch 23 Production – Michael Jordan Top 40 – North Carolina Best Plays
NCAA Basketball – 1981 To 1984 – Special – “NBA Legends and Players Explain Just How Good College Michael Jordan Was”
Jordan was selected by consensus to the NCAA All-American 1st Team in both as a sophomore in 1983 and as a junior in 1984…..when after winning the Naismith and the Wooden College Player of the Year awards in 1984….. that’s when Jordan left North Carolina one year before graduation to enter the 1984 NBA draft…..as Jordan returned to North Carolina to complete his degree in 1986…..when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in geography. In 2002, Jordan was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary men’s basketball team honoring the 50 greatest players in ACC history.
NCAA Basketball – 1982 – March Madness Classics – Final Four – Houston Cougars Vs UNC Tar Heels – Full Game
NCAA Basketball – 1982 – March Madness Classics – National Championship Game – Georgetown Hoyas Vs UNC Tar Heels – Full Game – Featuring UNC Freshman Michael Jordan’s Game Winning Shot
NCAA Basketball – 1983 – ACC Conference Game – Georgia Tech Vs. UNC – Featuring Michael Jordan’s 39 pts – College Career High
NCAA Basketball – 1984 – ACC Conference Game – Duke Vs. UNC – 2 OT Game – Featuring Michael Jordan’s Last Game at Chapel Hill
NCAA Basketball – 1981 – Game of the Week Highlights – Kentucky Vs. UNC – Battle For # 1 in Michael Jordan’s Freshman Year
The Chicago Bulls selected Jordan with the 3rd overall pick of the 1984 NBA draft after Akeem “The Dream” Olajuwon was picked # 1 by the Houston Rockets…..and Sam Bowie was selected # 2 by the Portland Trail Blazers. One of the primary reasons why Jordan was not drafted sooner was because the 1st two teams were in need of a center…..albeit Trail Blazers general manager Stu Inman contended that it was not a matter of drafting a center….but more a matter of taking Bowie over Jordan…..which was in part due to the fact that Portland already had Clyde “The Glide” Drexler….who was a guard with similar skills to Jordan.
NBA – 1984 – NBA Draft Pick # 3 – Chicago Bulls Pick Michael Jordan
NBA – 1984 – NBA Draft Documentary – Featuring 5 Hall of Fame Players – With Akeem Olajuwon +Michael Jordan + Charkes Barkley + John Stockton + Oscar Schmidt – Considered Best Draft Ever
NBA – 1984 – Special – “Was the 84 NBA Draft Class The Best Ever ???”
Jordan made his NBA debut at Chicago Stadium on October 26, 1984….while scoring 16 points. In 2021, a ticket stub from the game sold at auction for $264,000….which set a record for a collectible ticket stub. During his rookie 1984–85 season with the Bulls, Jordan averaged 28.2 ppg on 51.5% shooting …..while helping make a team that had won just 35% of their games in the previous three seasons. He quickly became a fan favorite even in opposing arenas…..as Roy S. Johnson of The New York Times described him as “the phenomenal rookie of the Bulls” in November….when Jordan appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated with the heading “A Star Is Born” in December …..as the fans also voted in Jordan as an All-Star starter during his rookie season…..however, controversy arose before the 1985 NBA All-Star Game when word surfaced that several veteran players, led by Isiah Thomas, were upset by the amount of attention Jordan was receiving…..which led to a so-called “freeze-out” on Jordan…..where players refused to pass the ball to him throughout the game….to which the controversy left Jordan relatively unaffected when he returned to regular season play…..when he would go on to be voted the NBA Rookie of the Year. The Bulls finished the season 38–44…..and lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in four games in the 1st round of the playoffs.
NBA – 1984 – Game of the Week Highlights – Washington Bullets Vs Chicago Bulls – Featuring Michael Jordan’s NBA Debut
NBA – 1984 – NBA TV Special Highlights – The Jordan Vault – “Best Of Michael Jordan’s Rookie Season”
NBA – 1984 – Game of the Week Highlights – San Antonio Spurs Vs Chicago Bulls – Featuring Rookie Michael Jordan (Age 21): 45 Pts, 18/27 (67%) FG
An often-cited moment was on August 26, 1985, when Jordan shook the arena during a Nike exhibition game in Trieste, Italy, by shattering the glass of the backboard with a dunk…..as the moment was filmed…..and is often referred to worldwide as an important milestone in Jordan’s rise to fame. The shoes Jordan wore during the game were auctioned in August 2020….. and sold for $615,000…..which is a record for a pair of sneakers. Jordan’s 1985–86 season was cut short when he broke his foot in the 3rd game of the year….thus causing him to miss 64 games…..when the Bulls made the playoffs despite Jordan’s injury….along with a 30–52 record….which at the time was the 5th-worst record of any team to qualify for the playoffs in NBA history. Jordan recovered in time to participate in the postseason and performed well upon his return…..when against a Boston Celtics team that is often considered one of the greatest teams in NBA history….that is when Jordan set the still-unbroken record for points in a playoff game with 63 in Game 2….but the Celtics managed to sweep the series.
NBA – 1986 – NBA Playoffs Game 2 – Bulls Vs Celtics – Larry Bird (36pts, 12reb, 8ast) vs Michael Jordan (63 Points)
NBA – 1986 – NBA Playoffs Game 2 – Chicago Bulls Vs Boston Celtics Special Highlights – “MJ Pours in 63 at Boston Gardens”
NBA – 1986 – NBA Season Opener – NY Knicks Va Chicago Bulls – Featuring Michael Jordan Scoring 50 Pts
Jordan completely recovered in time for the 1986–87 season…..and had one of the most prolific scoring seasons in NBA history…..when he became the only player other than Wilt Chamberlain to score 3,000 points in a season…. while averaging a league-high 37.1 ppg on 48.2% shooting. In addition, Jordan demonstrated his defensive prowess…..as he became the 1st player in NBA history to record 200 steals and 100 blocked shots in a season. Despite Jordan’s success, Magic Johnson won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award. The Bulls reached 40 wins and advanced to the playoffs for the 3rd straight year…..but were again swept by the Celtics.
NBA – 1986/87 – Special Highlights – “Michael Jordan Top 23 Plays~1986/’87 Season”
NBA – 1986/87 – Game of the Week Special Highlights – Lakers Vs Bulls – “MVP Magic vs Young Jordan”
NBA – !987 – Game of the Week Highlights – Atlanta Hawks Vs Chicago Bulls – Michael Jordan 61 Pts
NBA – !987 – Game of the Week Highlights – Milwaukee Bucks Vs Chicago Bulls – “Michael Jordan Scoring 50pts! Doing Sick Moves! Clutch in 4th Quarter!”
NBA – 1986/87 – Chicago Bulls Special – “Michael Jordan Highlights 86-87 Season”
Jordan again led the league in scoring during the 1987–88 season….while averaging 35 ppg on 53% shooting….and he won his 1st league MVP award …..plus he was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year….when he averaged 1.6 blocks/game…..a league-high of 3.1 steals/game…..and led the Bulls defense to the fewest points/game allowed in the league…..as the Bulls finished 50 – 32….and made it out of the 1st round of the playoffs for the 1st time in Jordan’s career…..when the defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games. In the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Bulls lost in five games to the Detroit Pistons…..who were led by Isiah Thomas and a group of physical players known as “The Bad Boys”..
NBA – 1987/88 – Special – Maximillion711 Presents “GOAT SZN” – MVP Highlights – “24 Year Old Michael Jordan Was GODLIKE!”
NBA – 1987 – All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest – Featuring Michael Jordan + Jerome Kersey – Full Contest
NBA – 1987/88 – Special Highlights – Michael Jordan’s Best Plays of 1987-88 Season
NBA – 1987/88 – NBA Special Highlights – Michael Air Jordan’s 1987 + 1988 Slam Dunks
In the 1988–89 season, Jordan again led the league in scoring…..while averaging 32.5 ppg on 53.8% shooting from the field…..along with 8 rpg and 8 apg….when during the season, Sam Vincent, Chicago’s point guard, was having trouble running the offense…..and Jordan expressed his frustration with head coach Doug Collins…..who decided to put Jordan at point guard….. during which time Jordan averaged 10 triple-doubles in eleven games…..with 33.6 ppg, 11.4 rpg, 10.8 apg, 2.9 spg, and 0.8 bpg on 51% shooting. The Bulls finished with a 47–35 record, and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals…..while defeating the Cavaliers and New York Knicks along the way. The Cavaliers series included a career highlight for Jordan when he hit “The Shot” over Craig Ehlo at the buzzer in the 5th and final game of the series. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Pistons again defeated the Bulls…..but this time in six games by utilizing their “Jordan Rules” method of guarding His Airness…..which consisted of double and triple teaming him every time he touched the ball.
NBA – 1984 To 1993 – Goatness Presents -Bulls Vs Pistons Highlights – “Michael Jordan Top 23 vs Bad Boys”
NBA – 1988/89 – Goatness Presents Bulls Season Highlights – “Michael Jordan’s Top 10”
NBA – 1988 – CBS Game of the Week Highlights – Bulls Vs Pistons -Featuring Michael Jordan’s 59 Pts
NBA – 1989 – Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 4 Highlights – Bulls Vs Knicks – With Michael Jordan’s 47 Pts, 11 Reb, 6 Asst, 2 Stls and 1 Blk
NBA – 1989 – NBA Playoffs 1st Rnd Gme 2 – Cavs Vs Bulls – Featuring Michael Jordan’s 59 Pts
NBA – 1988 & 1990 – NBA Special Highlights – “Michael Air Jordan’s Slam Dunks”
NBA – 1988 – All-Star Weekend Slam Dunk Contest – Featuring Michael Jordan + Dominique Wilkins – Full Contest
NBA – !988/89 – NBA Playoffs Special – Cavs Vs Bulls – “Michael Jordan’s “The Shot” Demands a Deep Rewind”
NBA – 1988 – Live Presentation of the 1988 MVP Award To Michael Jordan -With Craig Sager Interviewing His Airness
The Bulls entered the 1989–90 season as a team on the rise…..with their core group of Jordan and young improving players like Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant…..and under the guidance of new coach Phil Jackson. On March 28, 1990, Jordan scored a career-high 69 points in a 117–113 road win over the Cavaliers. He averaged a league-leading 33.6 ppg on 52.6% shooting, to go with 6.9 rpg and 6.3 apg, in leading the Bulls to a 55–27 record. They again advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals after beating the Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers…..and despite pushing the series to seven games, the Bulls lost to the Pistons for the 3rd consecutive season.
NBA – 1989/90 – The Michael Jordan Archive Presents – “Michael Jordan EPIC Offense Highlights Montage”
NBA- 1989/90 – Goatness Presents – “Michael Air Jordan Slam Dunks of 1989 & 1990”
NBA – 1989 – The Jordan Vault Presents – Season Opener Highlights – Cavs Vs Bulls – With Jordan’s 54 Pts, 14 Reb, 6 Ast & 3 Stl
NBA – 1989/90 – NBA Special Highlights – Pistons Vs Bulls Season – “All Cheap Shots, Altercations, and Technicals”
In the 1990–91 season, Jordan won his 2nd MVP award after averaging 31.5 ppg on 53% shooting, 6.0 rpg and 5.5 apg for the regular season….as the Bulls finished 1st place in their division for the 1st time in 16 years….and set a franchise record with 61 wins in the regular season. With Scottie Pippen developing into an All-Star, the Bulls elevated their play…..and defeated the New York Knicks and the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening two rounds of the playoffs…..when they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals against the Detroit Pistons…..and the Bulls beat the Pistons in a four-game sweep.
NBA – 1990/91 – The Michael Jordan Archive Presents – “Michael Jordan: UNSTOPPABLE Season Offense Highlights Montage”
NBA – 1990/91 – NBA Season Highlights on ESPN – “Michael Jordan’s Bulls Dynasty: 1990-1991”
NBA – 1990/91 – Goatness Presents – “Michael Jordan’s AND 1’s for 1990/91 Season”
The Bulls advanced to the NBA Finals for the 1st time in franchise history to face the Los Angeles Lakers….. who had two formidable players in Magic Johnson and James Worthy…..when the Bulls won the series four games to one…..after compiling 15–2 playoff record along the way. Perhaps the best-known moment of the series came in Game 2 when, attempting a dunk, Jordan avoided a potential Sam Perkins block by switching the ball from his right hand to his left in mid-air to lay the shot into the basket. In his 1st Finals appearance…..wherein Jordan had 31.2 ppg on 56% shooting from the field, 11.4 apg, 6.6 rpg, 2.8 spg, and 1.4 bpg…..as M J won his 1st NBA Finals MVP award…..and he cried while holding the Finals trophy.
NBA – 1990/91 – NBA Champion Chicago Bulls Special Film – “Learning To Fly – Rise To Glory”
NBA – 1991 – NBA Finals Highlights – Lakers Vs Bulls Special – “Michael Jordan’s Great Performance”
NBA – 1991 – Goatness Presents – “Michael Air Jordan Slam Dunks of 1991 Season”
Jordan and the Bulls continued their dominance in the 1991–92 season….. while establishing a 67–15 record…..thus topping their franchise record from 1990–91…..as Jordan won his 2nd consecutive MVP award…..with averages of 30.1 ppg, 6.4 rbg and 6.1 apg on 52% shooting. After winning a physical seven-game series over the New York Knicks in the 2nd round of the playoffs …..and finishing off the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Conference Finals in six games….that is when the Bulls met Clyde Drexler and the Portland Trail Blazers in the Finals…..when the media, hoping to recreate a Magic–Bird rivalry, highlighted the similarities between “Air” Jordan and Clyde “The Glide” during the pre-Finals hype. In the 1st game, Jordan scored a Finals-record 35 points in the 1st half….which included a record-setting six 3-point field goals…..when after scoring the 6th three-pointer, he jogged down the court shrugging as he looked courtside. Marv Albert, who broadcast the game, later stated that it was as if Jordan was saying: “I can’t believe I’m doing this.” The Bulls went on to win Game 1…..and defeated the Blazers in six games…..as Air Jordan was named Finals MVP for the 2nd year in a row….while finishing the series averaging 35.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, and 6.5 apg after shooting 52.6% from the floor.
NBA – 1991/92 – NBA Special – “Michael Jordan Ultimate 1991-92 Season Highlights” – Back 2 Back NBA Titles
NBA – 1990/91 – NBA Season Highlights on ESPN – “Michael Jordan’s Bulls Dynasty: 1990-1991”
NBA – 1992 – Goatness Presents – “Michael Air Jordan Slam Dunks of 1992 Season”
Jordan’s streak of consecutive MVP seasons ended in the 1992–93 season….. despite a 32.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg, and 5.5 apg campaign….which included a 2nd-place finish in Defensive Player of the Year voting…..when he lost the MVP award to his friend Charles Barkley…..which upset him then and still does today. Coincidentally, Jordan and the Bulls met Barkley and his Phoenix Suns in the 1993 NBA Finals…..and the Bulls won their 3rd consecutive NBA Title on a game-winning shot by John Paxson….and a last-second block by Horace Grant….but Jordan was once again Chicago’s leader….when he averaged a Finals-record 41.0 ppg during the six-game series…..and became the first player in NBA history to win three straight Finals MVP awards. He scored more than 30 points in every game of the series….which included 40 or more points in four consecutive games. With his 3rd Finals triumph, Jordan capped off a seven-year run where he attained seven scoring titles and three championships…..but there were signs that Jordan was tiring of his massive celebrity…..and all of the non-basketball hassles in his life.
NBA – 1992/93 – The NBA History Special Film – “Three Peat: The Chicago Bulls’ Historic Third Championship”
NBA – 1993 – NBA Finals Game 4 Highlights – Phoenix Suns Vs Chicago Bulls – Featuring Michael Jordan’s 55 Points
NBA – 1993 – NBA Finals Game 6 – Phoenix Suns Vs Chicago Bulls – Full Game With Jordan 33 Pts 7 Ast 8 Reb 3 Stl 2 Blk
During the Bulls’ 1993 NBA playoffs, Jordan was seen gambling in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the night before a game against the New York Knicks. The previous year, he admitted that he had to cover $57,000 in gambling losses …..and author Richard Esquinas wrote a book in 1993 claiming he had won $1.25 million from Jordan on the golf course. David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA, denied in 1995 and 2006 that Jordan’s 1993 retirement was a secret suspension by the league for gambling…..but the rumor spread widely. In 2005, Jordan discussed his gambling with Ed Bradley of 60 Minutes and admitted that he made reckless decisions….as Jordan stated: “Yeah, I’ve gotten myself into situations where I would not walk away and I’ve pushed the envelope. Is that compulsive? Yeah, it depends on how you look at it. If you’re willing to jeopardize your livelihood and your family, then yeah.” When Bradley asked him if his gambling ever got to the level where it jeopardized his livelihood or family, Jordan replied, “No.” In 2010, Ron Shelton, director of Jordan Rides the Bus, said that he began working on the documentary believing that the NBA had suspended him, but that research “convinced [him it] was nonsense”.
NBA – 2020 – Special Interview Clips – “Kobe Bryant Shares Unreal Stories on Michael Jordan”
NBA – 2020 – Special Interviews – “Michael Jordan’s Best Trash Talking Stories”
NBA – 2020 – Cosgrove Production Special – “5 Times Michael Jordan Sought Revenge!”
On October 6, 1993, Jordan announced his retirement, saying that he lost his desire to play basketball…..when Jordan admitted that the murder of his father three months earlier helped shape his decision. James R. Jordan Sr. was murdered on July 23, 1993, at a highway rest area in Lumberton, North Carolina, by two teenagers, Daniel and Larry Martin Demery, who carjacked his Lexus bearing the license plate “UNC 0023”. His body, dumped in a South Carolina swamp, was not discovered until August 3. Green and Demery were found after they made calls on James Jordan’s cell phone, convicted at trial, and sentenced to life in prison. Jordan was close to his father….when as a child, he imitated the way his father stuck out his tongue while absorbed in work….and he later adopted it as his own signature often displaying it as he drove to the basket. In 1996, he founded a Chicago-area Boys & Girls Club and dedicated it to his father. In his 1998 autobiography For the Love of the Game, Jordan wrote that he was preparing for retirement as early as the summer of 1992. The added exhaustion due to the “Dream Team” run in the 1992 Summer Olympics solidified Jordan’s feelings about the game and his ever-growing celebrity status. Jordan’s announcement sent shock waves throughout the NBA and appeared on the front pages of newspapers around the world.
NBA – 1984 To 1993 – Clutch 23 Production Film – “Fury” Starring Michael Jordan
NBA – 1988 To 1993 – Clutch 23 Production Film – “Fury 2” Starring Michael Jordan
NBA – 1993 To 1998 – Clutch 23 Production Film – “Fury 3” Starring Michael Jordan
Jordan further surprised the sports world by signing a Minor League Baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox on February 7, 1994….then he reported to spring training in Sarasota, Florida…..and was assigned to the team’s minor league system on March 31, 1994. Jordan said that this decision was made to pursue the dream of his late father…..who always envisioned his son as a Major League Baseball player. The White Sox were owned by Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf…..who continued to honor Jordan’s basketball contract during the years he played baseball. In 1994, Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons, a Double-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox….while batting .202 with three home runs, 51 runs batted in, 30 stolen bases, 114 strikeouts, 51 bases on balls, and 11 errors. He also appeared for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 1994 Arizona Fall League….while batting .252 against the top prospects in baseball.
MLB & NBA – 1994 – MLB Exhibition Game – Chicago White Sox Vs Chicago Cubs – Featuring Chisox RF Michael Jordan
Baseball & NBA – 1994 – Scottsdale Scorpions (Chisox AAA Team) Game – Featuring Michael Jordan Triple
On November 1, 1994, his # 23 was retired by the Bulls in a ceremony that included the erection of a permanent sculpture known as The Spirit outside the new United Center. The Bulls went 55–27 in 1993–94 without Jordan in the lineup….and lost to the New York Knicks in the 2nd round of the playoffs. The 1994–95 Bulls were a shell of the championship team of just two years earlier….while struggling at mid-season to insure a playoff spot at 31-31….as the team received help when His Airness decided to return to the team….. when he feared he might become a replacement player during the Major League Baseball strike…..so, on March 18, 1995, Jordan announced his return to the NBA through a two-word press release, “I’m back.” The next day, Jordan took to the court with the Bulls to face the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis….while scoring 19 points…..when the game had the highest Nielsen rating of any regular season NBA game since 1975. Although he could have worn his original number even though the Bulls retired it, Jordan wore # 45, his baseball number. Despite his eighteen-month hiatus from the NBA, Jordan played well, making a game-winning jump shot against Atlanta in his 4th game back…. then he scored 55 points in his next game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 28, 1995. Boosted by Jordan’s comeback, the Bulls went 13–4 to make the playoffs…..and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Orlando Magic…..when at the end of Game 1, Orlando’s Nick Anderson stripped Jordan from behind….which led to the game-winning basket for the Magic….as Anderson later commented that Jordan “didn’t look like the old Michael Jordan”…..and said that “# 45 doesn’t explode like # 23 used to”….to which Jordan responded by scoring 38 points in the next game, which Chicago won…..and before the game, Jordan decided that he would immediately resume wearing his former # 23….and the Bulls were fined $25,000 for failing to report the impromptu number change to the NBA….plus His Airness was fined an additional $5,000 for opting to wear white sneakers when the rest of the Bulls wore black. He averaged 31 ppg in the playoffs…..but Orlando won the series in six games.
NBA – 1994/95 – Clutch 23 Special – “Michael Jordan’s Top 45 I’m Back Plays”
NBA – 1994/95 – Goatness Special Highlights – “His Airness Jordan Dunks ’94/’95 Season”
NBA – 1994/95 – NBA Special – “Michael Jordan: I’m Back!” -The Story From Professional Baseball To MJ’s Return to the Bulls Thru Entire 1995 Playoff Run: “A Comeback & A Surprise Disappointment!”
Jordan was freshly motivated by the playoff defeat, and he trained aggressively for the 1995–96 season….and the Bulls team was strengthened by the addition of rebound specialist and defensive player extraordinaire Dennis Rodman…..then the team dominated the league by starting the season with a 41-3 start….while finishing the season with the best regular season NBA record in history of 72-10…..which was a mark broken two decades later by the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors. Jordan led the league in scoring with 30.4 ppg…..and he won the regular season and All-Star game MVP awards.
NBA – 1995/96 – Special – Official Chicago Bulls 1995-96 Championship (72-10) Documentary – “UNSTOP-A-BULLS” – Featuring Michael Jordan
NBA – 1995/96 – Essential Jordan Special – “Michael Jordan All Dunks 1995/96 Season – 105 Dunks- Raw Highlights”
NBA – 1995/96 – MaxaMillion711 Special – “The Ultimate Michael Jordan 1995-96 Highlight Reel”
NBA – 1995 – Game of the Week Highlights – Chicago Bulls Vs Cleveland Cavs – Featuring Michael Jordan: “I Wouldn’t Do That If I Were You…”
In the playoffs, the Bulls lost only three games in four series….with Miami Heat 3–0, New York Knicks 4–1 and Orlando Magic 4–0….as they defeated the Seattle SuperSonics 4–2 in the NBA Finals to win their 4th NBA Title….as Jordan was named Finals MVP for a record 4th time…..thus surpassing Magic Johnson’s three Finals MVP awards…..plus, he also achieved only the 2nd sweep of the MVP awards in the All-Star Game, regular season, and NBA Finals after Willis Reed in the 1969–70 season. Upon winning the NBA Title, his 1st since his father’s murder, Jordan reacted emotionally, clutching the game ball and crying on the locker room floor.
NBA – 1995/96 – NBA Finals Game 6 Highlights – Seattle SuperSonics Vs Chicago Bulls – Bulls Win 4th Championship
NBA – 1995/96 – Special – NBA Highlights on ESPN – Michael Jordan’s Bulls Dynasty: 1995-1996
NBA – 1995/96 – Special – “95-96 Chicago Bulls 72-10 ULTIMATE Mixtape”
NBA – 1995/96 – BTM Basketball Time Machine Presents – “NBA Legends Explain How Good The 96 Chicago Bulls Were”