“I’m happy that Michael Jordan made the right decision”: Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, and Larry Brown react to the Bulls superstar’s return from baseball

Arjun Julka
|Published 22/12/2021

Michael Jordan’s decision to return to the hardwood after playing baseball had several reactions from his peers in the league at the time.

Probably one of the greatest sporting icons of all time, Michael Jordan’s career in the NBA had a perfect storyline. His successful docu-series The Last Dance bears evidence of that fact. The Bulls legend dominated the league for most of the 90s.

MJ’s career had several turning points in it. One of them was his decision to retire after 3-peating with the Bulls from 1991-93. His Airness had stated that he had lost the desire to play and that his father’s tragic death played a huge role in it. The excessive fame, exhaustion, and the constant tracking of his whereabouts also helped shape his decision.

Jordan would go pro, playing baseball, signing a deal with the Chicago White Sox. MJ’s father always wished he played in the MLB. During his sabbatical, Scottie Pippen was leading the Bulls. The team finished the season with a 55-27 record, with Pippen finishing 3rd in the MVP race.

However, they couldn’t make it past the sem-finals. The 1994-95 season had the Bulls finish 5th in the eastern conference. The same season Jordan made his return towards the end.

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MJ would have some practice sessions at the Bulls facility with his teammates, leading to a lot of speculation. On March 18, 1995, MJ released a press statement saying “I’m back”.

NBA stars react to Michael Jordan’s return after baseball.

The Bulls legend’s return had several reactions from players and coaches at the time. While some believed MJ would elevate the Bulls to another level, others had doubts over him being champion again. The following clip included reactions from icons such as Hakeen Olajuwon, David Robinson, Charles Barkley, Hersey Hawkins, and Dell Curry.

Coaches such as Larry Brown and Pat Riley also shared their views, stating that MJ’s return would make the Bulls solid contenders.

“I’m happy that he made the right decision,” said Hakeem Olajuwon.

“Jordan is unbelievable, and him being back on the floor is going make that team pretty strong now,” said David Robinson.

“Chicago is a good team. It’s going to be very difficult for them to win 3 series in a row, so obviously, he makes your team a lot better but I think for them to get through 3 rounds on the road is going to be very difficult,” said Charles Barkley.

“Obviously, they’ll win the championship, it’s as simple as that, said Pacers coach Larry Brown.

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MJ’s Bulls would get bounced off in the semi-finals by the Orlando Magic in the 1995 playoffs. However, the following season they would win 72 games and go on to 3-peat for the second time, with Jordan being the best player on the team.

 


About the author
Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka

Arjun Julka is a NBA author at The SportsRush. Basketball isn’t just a sport for this 26-year-old, who hails from Mumbai. He began watching the sport after stumbling upon a court in his society, helping him identify an undiscovered passion for the game of hoops. Now an ardent fan, Arjun supports Stephen Curry and the Warriors but also enjoys watching Giannis Antetokounmpo own the paint. When it comes to the GOAT debate, the TSR author feels LeBron James is yet to receive a lot of his due but cannot deny marveling at Michael Jordan’s resume.

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