MJ leaving the game in ’93 will always be a controversial decision, and with all controversial decisions, there are many theories why. One of the most talked about is that MJ got into serious gambling problems and instead of kicking him out of the league, David Stern told MJ to “retire” for two years and then come back. The biggest star being suspended wouldn’t look good so this would be a win-win. MJ was (and still is) a passionate gambler and there are even stories of him visiting Atlantic City on off nights during NBA Finals. That is probably why this theory got so much traction, you could see it happening, right? As with all conspiracy theories, we will probably never know the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
“No it doesn’t bother me, and not it’s not true. The reason being is, I have a freedom to make a choice, and no one seems to understand that. That I can walk away from the game and not worry about a lot of things that happen. The travelling, the stardom, the money – those are all things that don’t mean much to me. I play the game because I love the game. If I don’t have a purpose I walk away from the game.” MJ continued to explain that he accepts the fact he can’t change how people think.
“At the time I walked there were no penalties, I didn’t do anything wrong. In terms of the gambling situation, I wasn’t being penalised. I walked away because I chose to walk away. When I walk back, I walk back because I chose to walk back. Not because my time expired in terms of my suspensions or whatever rumour is out there, strictly is rumour, that’s it.”
Even if he did gamble during Finals games, the season and so on, it didn’t stop him from being the GOAT. Let’s say for a moment all those stories are true. What would’ve happened if he didn’t fly to Atlantic City to gamble all night and slept less than 5 hours a night during the season (confirmed by Charles Oakley)? That’s why he is the greatest.