#ImBack: The Tale of the Michael Jordan #45 Jersey – Now Available at NBAStore!
In 1993, Michael Jordan was on top of the basketball world. He was coming off his ninth All-Star appearance in nine seasons, his seventh straight scoring title, and his third consecutive NBA Championship and NBA Finals MVP. Despite being regarded as the best player in the NBA, Michael Jordan sent shockwaves through the league later that year when on October 6th, 1993, he announced his retirement at the young age of 30.
Citing a loss of desire to continue playing basketball and an inspiration to pursue his recently deceased father’s dream of watching him as a pro baseball player, Jordan then turned to baseball in 1994. On February 7th of that year, Jordan signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox to play for their Double-A affiliate, the Birmingham Barons. With the team, he donned the number 45 – a number that would become iconic just one year later.
While spending the year in the minor league system for the White Sox, Major League Baseball was headed for a labor strike in August 1994, which resulted in the cancellation of the remainder of the season. As teams headed for spring training in February the following year, it was announced that teams were allowed to use replacement players for the upcoming season, if the strike was not settled. Michael Jordan was expecting to become one of these replacement players. Vowing not to take the field as a replacement, on March 2nd, 1995, Jordan was left off the White Sox exhibition roster and effectively left spring training.
Days after he left the White Sox, Jordan was seen at the Bulls’ training facility and rumors begun to fly around that he would be returning to the team. On March 18th, 1995, Michael Jordan confirmed the speculation that had been building by issuing a press release to the NBA that simply read “I’m back.”
It was then one day later that Michael Jordan returned to the court for the Chicago Bulls wearing the same #45 that he had worn when he opened his minor league baseball career. The Bulls took on the Pacers that night and, despite losing in overtime, the game had the highest Nielsen rating of any regular season NBA game since 1975. In the remaining 16 games of the regular season, Jordan would help the Bulls go 13-3 the rest of the way and secure their playoff spot.
Later in the playoffs, Jordan would change his number back to 23 and continue wearing it the rest of his Hall of Fame career. Still, that day twenty years ago will always be remembered by basketball fans, as they saw the one of the best players ever return to the court.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of “The Return,” you can own an authentic Michael Jordan #45 jersey of your own right here at NBAStore.com! As the exclusive online retailer of number 45 Jordan jerseys, you will not be able to find these anywhere else. Browse our collection and order yours today to commemorate this moment in one of the greatest basketball player’s storied career.