After winning his third championship in 1993 over the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan retired from the NBA for the first time, leaving his pal Scottie Pippen for baseball. The basketball superstar took his talents to the Birmingham Barons, the Double-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
Pippen played like an MVP during the 1993-94 season sans Jordan. However, the Bulls lost to the New York Knicks in the second round of the playoffs in seven games. Game 6 of the series was the final NBA contest held at the Chicago Stadium as the Bulls moved to the United Center the following season.
The last “real” game Jordan played at the Chicago Stadium was on June 18, 1993. The Bulls lost to the Suns in Game 5 of the ’93 Finals.
However, some fans tend to forget that MJ suited up for a game at the Chicago Stadium during his first retirement. It just didn’t count.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen won the ’92 championship at the Chicago Stadium
The Bulls faced the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1992 NBA Finals. The series went six games, with Jordan and Pippen coming out victorious over Clyde Drexler and Co.
Chicago won three straight titles in ’91, ’92, and ’93. The second championship was the only ring the team won at the Chicago Stadium as the Bulls won their first championship in Los Angeles and their third in Phoenix.
Jordan averaged 35.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.5 assists against the Blazers. He outplayed Drexler and won his second straight Finals MVP. Meanwhile, Pippen put up 20.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game.
The Bulls created a lot of great memories at the Chicago Stadium. However, Jordan’s final NBA game in the building wasn’t one of them.
The Bulls lost to the Suns in Game 5 of the ’93 Finals
The Bulls had a chance to win their second consecutive championship at the Chicago Stadium in 1993. They were up 3-1 on Charles Barkley and the Suns entering Game 5.
Despite getting 41 points from Jordan and 22 from Pippen, the Bulls lost to the Suns by 10 points. Barkley, the 1992-93 MVP, scored 24 points. He also got help from Kevin Johnson (25 points) and Richard Dumas (25 points).
Even though the Bulls won Game 6 in Phoenix to capture their third consecutive title, it was heartbreaking for fans to see Jordan lose his final game at the Chicago Stadium. Fortunately for MJ fanatics, they got to see His Airness put on one final show at the old Madhouse on Madison in 1994 despite being a baseball player.
Michael Jordan scored 52 points at Scottie Pippen’s All-Star Classic
In September 1994, Jordan took part in the last basketball game at the Chicago Stadium, the Pippen All-Star Classic. The Hall of Famer scored a game-high 52 points and embarrassed Pippen, who guarded him on several possessions.
Jordan shot 24-of-46 and put on a show for the Chicago crowd. Even though he was a baseball player, he still looked like the best basketball player in the world.
At the end of the game, Jordan got down on his hands and knees to kiss the Bulls logo at halfcourt and waved goodbye to the fans. It was the perfect way to say farewell to the Chicago Stadium.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.