Michael Jordan shocked the sports world in 1993 when he retired from the NBA. The Chicago Bulls legend was mentally and physically exhausted after winning three consecutive championships and needed to step away from the game following the tragic murder of his father.
Los Angeles Lakers icon Magic Johnson, who missed four seasons due to HIV, was close friends with Jordan and knew the type of competitor His Airness was. So even though MJ said at his retirement press conference he probably wouldn’t come back to the Bulls, Johnson had a feeling that wouldn’t be the case.
Magic Johnson on Michael Jordan: He probably will come back in one year
When Jordan retired in 1993, Johnson said he wouldn’t be surprised if the Bulls superstar came back in one year.
“I’ve always been in awe of his talent on the court, and I’m even more in awe of him as a man off the court,” Johnson said about Jordan, via Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein. “He probably will come back in one year to show everyone he’s still king.”
From 1984-85 to 1992-93, Jordan averaged 32.3 points for the Bulls. He won three championships, three Finals MVPs, three regular-season MVPs, seven scoring titles, and one Defensive Player of the Year Award and made nine All-Star teams. Superman said he was “very solid” with his decision to retire since he didn’t have anything else to prove.
Jordan played baseball for the Birmingham Barons in 1994. He was set to play for them in 1995 as well. However, a baseball strike took place, and the UNC product had no interest in playing with replacement players.
As a result of the baseball strike, Jordan returned to the Bulls near the end of the 1994-95 season, just like Johnson predicted.
Michael Jordan came back to Bulls in March 1995
Jordan played the final 17 games of the 1994-95 season. He wore No. 45 and averaged 26.9 points. The Bulls went 13-4 to close out the season and felt confident about their chances to win a championship with Black Jesus back in the fold.
However, Jordan and Co. ran into a juggernaut in the 1995 Eastern Conference semifinals. In six games, the Orlando Magic defeated the Bulls, handing Jordan his lone postseason loss from 1991 to 1998. The Hall of Famer was devastated since his comeback tour came up short, and he lost to Horace Grant, his former teammate.
In the summer of 1995, while filming Space Jam, Jordan got back into basketball shape. Eager to prove his critics wrong, the All-Star guard led the Bulls to 72 wins in 1995-96 and won his fourth MVP and eighth scoring title.
Jordan wasn’t finished, though. He needed to cap off his revenge season with a ring, and the Seattle SuperSonics stood in his way.
Bulls and SuperSonics met in ’96 Finals
The Bulls and SuperSonics faced each other in the 1996 Finals. Chicago won the first three games of the series, but Seattle won Games 4 and 5.
Game 6 was not only at the United Center, but it also took place on Father’s Day. An emotional Jordan tried to keep his composure and win a championship for his late father, and even though he shot terribly from the field (5-of-19), he accomplished his goal.
The Bulls won Game 6 to capture their fourth title. Jordan won his fourth Finals MVP and cried in the locker room. The NBA’s all-time leader in points per game won two more championships and two more Finals MVPs with the Bulls before retiring again in 1998.