Michael Jordan had perhaps the greatest NBA career and the most confusing NBA career all wrapped into one by the time he properly retired in 2003.
The Bulls legend has accomplished what NBA players dream of doing in his career. Six championships, six Finals MVP’s, five NBA MVP’s, an obvious Hall of Fame induction, and much more has cemented Jordan’s legacy as the greatest NBA player of all time.
So, why was his career so confusing? Well, he retired thrice in his career, to give you some context. If that sounds weird to you, that’s because it is. His first retirement was by far the most surprising as it came only nine years into his career, and he had just started to win at the highest level, coming off of his first threepeat.
Michael Jordan’s playoff run in 1993
• 1st round: 34.3p, 6.7r, 4.3a, 1.7s
• 2nd round: 31.0p, 5.0r, 5.3a, 2.3s
• 3rd round: 32.2p, 6.2r, 7.0a, 2.5s
• NBA Finals: 41.0p, 8.5r, 6.3a, 1.7s pic.twitter.com/kd0QWH4tEE
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) June 2, 2019
Michael Jordan retiring for the first time sent shockwaves across the US
Jordan’s retirement seemingly came out of nowhere. However, there was some context at the time. Jordan was dealing with a lot at the time as his father was murdered in the summer of 93.
Additionally, reports started to pop up about Jordan having a seeming gambling addiction that was leading the NBA in a negative direction about his behavior.
Even with that context, it was still shocking to see the best player in the NBA at the time retire so abruptly. Imagine if Kevin Durant, Giannis, or some other younger athlete decided to announce their retirement tomorrow. Actually, that comparison isn’t even valid because no player in the NBA, aside from LeBron James, has achieved the status Jordan has.
So, yes, imagine if LeBron were to suddenly walk off the NBA stage tomorrow. It still wouldn’t capture the essence of Jordan’s retirement since LeBron is deep into his career and questions about his retirement are popping up.
Kids across the US were shook. Tyler Hatfield, 11, from Detroit said the following at the time:
“I’m mad because that’s the best basketball player. When I saw my boy Michael Jordan, I just pushed the Pistons aside.”
Another kid, Ryan Willard, 12, from Boston said:
“My friend told me at school. I thought he was lying. (He quit) because there was too much emotional stress because his father got killed. While playing, he was thinking about his father. After his father’s death, he was done because of stress.”
Debbie Solomon, 17, from New York city said:
“I was astounded. I just went to my bed and hoped it was a nightmare, but when I woke up, it was real.”
All in all, there wasn’t a single person in the US not surprised by Jordan’s sudden decision.