On October 6th, Michael Jordan shocked the entire NBA by announcing his first retirement from the NBA. There were speculations floating around the media a couple of days before his press conference that he actually might retire but at that nobody imagined he would actually do it. Jordan was 30 years old and just completed a three-peat which is something that hasn’t been done since the Boston Celtics in the ’60s, which made him the most popular basketball player in the world. Jordan simply said the desire to play basketball is no longer there for him.
Players around the league were also surprised by Jordan’s decision to retire and some of them benefited greatly from him being gone from the league. Hakeem Olajuwon would win two consecutive championships after Jordan’s departure from the NBA but initially he understands Jordan’s decision to leave.
“I didn’t understand it. It was more of a drastic decision, where I couldn’t imagine that he was comfortable to walk away for life. So I was surprised.”
At that time there were various conspiracy theories floating around about the reason for Jordan’s early retirement. Some believed it was because of his father’s murder that happened earlier that summer. There were even some who said that the death of Jordan’s father was closely connected with his gambling habits. Still to this day, this story hasn’t been completely resolved and there are were a lot of questions mark left behind.
Nevertheless, in his retirement speech Jordan mentioned several times he lost the motivation to play basketball and how he doesn’t have anything else to prove anymore. The desire was no longer there for him which caught the audience by surprise. However, he did say that there might be a possibility for him to return in a few years.
“Five years down the road, if the urge comes back, if the Bulls will have me if David Stern lets me back in the league, I may come back.”
Jordan would eventually come back 18 months after his retirement, and the rest is history. He won the three more consecutive championships with the Bulls, made a star appearance in the Space Jam movie and retired one more time from the NBA but eventually came back as a member of the Washington Wizards.