In a 2019 interview, Michael Jordan explained how he almost retired after the Barcelona Olympics, but came back for a chance to threepeat.
Jordan revealed a few years after his retirement that he would have retired anyway after a 3rd championship. He explained that his father’s death was a precipitating factor for sure. But he’d been feeling burnt out by the game especially since he hadn’t had a break for 2 years.
We all know what happened in MJ’s Bulls tenure. He won 3 championships with Horace Grant, retired to play minor league baseball, came back wearing the 45 and threepeated once more. It was a sign of just how dominant he was that even at the age of 35, he still was the best player in basketball.
This day in 1993:
Michael Jordan announces first retirement from basketball after first threepeat. pic.twitter.com/tnw2ABwstE
— sportstrib (@sportstrib) October 6, 2020
Jordan’s love for the game didn’t fade, it was just the fatigue of staying under immense pressure and scrutiny that got to him.
Michael Jordan reveals how he wanted to do something Magic Johnson and Larry Bird hadn’t
In this interview with Basketball Network, Jordan got candid about the Bulls during their first threepeat:
“After we won the first two titles back to back, the only reason I came back was to win three in a row, which was something Larry and Magic never did. That was my only motivation.”
“Charles used all his methods to try and get his team fired up. He tried to carry them. He pushed and pulled talking about the championship being part of the Suns destiny. I told him don’t give me that destiny crap. It’s destined that you’re all going to have a long summer.”
“I was glad when it was over. Winning a third straight championship was the hardest thing I’ve ever done on the basketball court.”