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The other reasons behind Michael Jordan's first retirement according to Sam Smith, the author of "The Jordan Rules"

Michael Jordan's retirement was due to a slew of factors. Sam Smith, the author of "The Jordan Rules" pinpoints the biggest reason that "pushed him over the edge"
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Michael Jordan

The basketball world was caught off guard when Michael Jordan announced his retirement from basketball in 1993. Fans went berserk when he unveiled that what he wanted to do next was play baseball. However, for sportswriter Sam Smith, there was more to it than just baseball. He believes that controversies hounding Jordan during that time pushed him to bid goodbye to the sport he loves.


Smith is the author of the controversial and bestselling book “The Jordan Rules,” which, among other things, portrayed the Bulls guard in a different light. It disclosed his tyrannical behavior towards his teammates as well as verbal punches at general manager Jerry Krause.

The book opened a can of worms and triggered other sportswriters to investigate more on Jordan’s personal life. Gambling was chief among the line of topics concerning the guard’s life off the court. The sportswriters during those days wrote about anything and everything. It didn’t matter if it caused distress to Jordan and his family.

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There were stories written that were horrible and that, I think, helped push him over the edge toward retirement in ’93 – stories that were raising questions or making suggestions that maybe his father was murdered because of him or because of his gambling debts. I mean, it was the height of irresponsibility; it was just sort of thrown out there. But you can imagine how he and his family felt about seeing something like that, especially with how close he was with his father,” Smith said, per Hoops Hype.

The truth

There were hypotheses that James R. Jordan’s murder was a mafia-related hit. Some say that Jordan owed some money to some Mafia guys but wasn’t able to pay his dues. And so, his dad had to pay the price.

But the reality is that the elder Jordan was killed by two teenagers who planned to rob him. On his way home from playing golf in July 1993, the Jordan patriarch pulled over US Highway 74 to take a quick nap. The two teenagers spotted the car: a red Lexus SC400 with a plate number that read “UNC0023”. They shot Jordan in the chest and zoomed off with the car.

In October, three months after the brutal killing of his father, MJ announced his retirement from the NBA. He pointed out an array of reasons. One was exhaustion from the sport. He admitted, too, that his father’s death affected his decision.

It isn’t easy to pinpoint the exact reason Jordan bid goodbye in 1993. Like all things in life, the most significant decisions are due to a confluence of factors. We're just happy a year and a half later, a fax arrived with a simple message - "I'm back."


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