Michael Jordan once came back to play at an exhibition game against Scottie Pippen while he was still playing minor league baseball.
The Chicago Stadium was one of the iconic centers of sporting excellence for a long time. Opened for the public in 1929, this arena was in use for 65 years. During this time, it played host to the Chicago Bulls as well as the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
The Chicago Stadium was established primarily as the home of the Blackhawks. There are reports that the arena once hosted a maximum capacity crowd of over 20,000 at an NHL game. It was opened as the largest recreational arena in the country at the time.
The most indelible memories of Jordan’s NBA career are associated with this beacon of sporting excellence. It was the site of his success at the Slam Dunk Competition in 1988 and where he celebrated his second NBA championship at the age of 29 against the Portland Trail Blazers.
But owners of both franchises had set their sights on bigger and better arenas in a more modern age. Jerry Reinsdorf announced that the Bulls would move to United Center beginning in the 1994-95 NBA season.
Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen dueled at the Chicago Stadium one last time
The greatest duo of all time split up when Jordan took time off the NBA to pursue baseball professionally. It seemed almost written in the stars, however, that they’d find a way to reunite on the court.
They did do this in Bulls colors not long after MJ’s first retirement. But before that, they battled in front of a cheering crowd of thousands for one final time at the Chicago Stadium.
Pippen hosted his invitational All-Stars game in September 1994 and got MJ to play in his opponents’ team. Perhaps he knew what he was doing, as the two best wing players of the league dueled in spectacular fashion.
Predictably, Jordan got the better of his protege on the night they bade goodbye to their happy hunting grounds. Mike had 52 points on 24-of-46 shooting from the field. As you can see from the clips above, there were quite a few moments when Scottie looked lost guarding MJ.
This game was an indication to those who were clamoring for Jordan’s return to the NBA that it would eventually happen. Michael Jordan was born to play basketball, and he understood this destiny of his when he returned in Bulls colors.