Michael Jordan briefly retired in 1993, citing fatigue and wanting to fulfill his father’s wishes of seeing him play baseball. Close friend Ahmad Rashad claimed MJ was tired of the hype and the media and wanted to get away from it all. However, colleagues and rivals in the NBA knew Mike would be back soon. Only one other player claimed he should not be back.
"Michael is not coming back to play basketball”
Julius “Dr. J” Erving didn’t believe MJ would make his return to basketball. He believed Mike would give up the freedom he had playing baseball if he returned to the basketball court.
"Michael is not coming back to play basketball," Erving said. "If he's gonna come back, he's gonna give up the freedom that he enjoys right now. People search their whole life for freedom and security, and independence. How is he gonna come back to a game where there are rules, regulations, and curfews and prostitute the game of basketball by coming back for 15 games and the playoffs? I just don't see it."
Dr. J’s comments on Michael Jordan
You can’t blame the fans for thinking that Dr.J was just jealous of MJ. The league once belonged to Erving, and Jordan had a similar style as him: flamboyant with ridiculous hang time and immensely creative with shots. He once said that he thought MJ was a mini version of himself.
Jordan would prove Erving wrong as he eventually surpassed him in championships and individual awards. Mike always respected Dr. J and revealed he idolized him growing up. Recently, Dr. J claimed LeBron James is the GOAT of all time in what could be another shade thrown at MJ.
"So, LeBron is the Chosen One in that regard," Julius said. "He's gonna play into his 40s. He's gonna have, you know, a 22 or 23-year career. And nobody's done that in basketball either. Those last few years for Shaq and for Kobe, you know they were on the bench, they were on the sidelines. LeBron, it won't be the same for him. He's gonna be the guy who re-establishes the bar for what the GOAT is."
There seemed to be character development for Julius. He once claimed he wouldn't want MJ to have that longevity if for the sake of freedom from the pressure of the media while later on seeing James enjoy a career well into his 40s.
There are no reasons for Dr. J to be jealous of what MJ was able to achieve in his career. Both being legends of the sport, they helped basketball evolve and inspired younger ones to dream and work hard to make it in the NBA.