Bulls’ legend Michael Jordan admits there was a time during his career where he wasn’t the best player in the NBA
Michael Jordan retired from the NBA following the 1993 season, one of the biggest reasons being his father’s tragic death. The 3x MVP had also lost the desire to play basketball and had developed a lot of fatigue.
In 1994, MJ switched gears and would try his stint in baseball. Jordan even signed with the Chicago White Sox. However, after playing for almost over a year, MJ decided to return to the NBA hardwood.
Jordan was unable to replicate his NBA success during his stint in baseball. Thus on 18th March 1995, the superstar announced his return through a two-word press release, “I’m back.”
During MJ’s sabbatical from basketball, superstars such as Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson had earned themselves a case for the best in the world. Nonetheless, his Airness believed that he couldn’t call himself the best player in the world, having missed one and a half-season of pro basketball.
Michael Jordan felt he didn’t have the right to call himself the best player in the world
Jordan would make his return during the flag end of the 1994-95 NBA season. However, the Bulls were able to hold the fort despite MJ not being there. The Chicago team had clinched the 5th spot in the eastern conference with 47 wins.
Unfortunately, the Bulls couldn’t get past the Orlando Magic during the semi-finals, losing the series by six games. This was the first and only playoff series MJ ever lost between the years 1991-98.
During an interview in 1995 with Cheryl Raye-Stout, the 5x MVP stated that other players could rightfully call themselves the best player in the world. The 14x All-Star didn’t view himself as the best player, having missed a one-and-a-half season of NBA action.
In two years, a lot of things happened, Jordan said. A lot of talent has come in. Other players have matured to be better players than when I faced them, so it’s hard to give yourself or consider yourself the best when you haven’t faced the best of this era. It isn’t the point that someone knocked me off. I took myself away from that mantle for a while because from a mental aspect, I needed the time away. And while I was away, other people stepped up their game. Now I’m back with a clear mind, with a different feeling, a different attitude, a different appetite. I want to get back to where I was.
Jordan hadn’t played against the stars, who had improved during his time off from the league. Though he made his return during the 1994-95 seasons, the superstar was finding his way back to being Air Jordan.
The 6x Finals MVP would use all the doubts and criticism people had about him as motivation and create history the following season. The Chicago Bulls became the most successful regular-season team with 72 wins during the time.
The Bulls would top their record-breaking season, winning their 4th NBA title. MJ was crowned Finals MVP, regaining his throne of being the best in the world.