When Michael Jordan made his highly televised decision to retire from the NBA, it didn’t surprise close friend Ahmad Rashad.
Michael Jordan was a game-changer in the sport of basketball. MJ was the first NBA player to sign multiple endorsements deals and appear regularly on television. At the same time, his Airness would continue to put on a show every time he stepped on the hardwood.
His larger-than-life personality would have the media keeping a tab on each of his moves. Fans would travel borders to catch a glimpse of the Bulls superstar. The constant spotlight and excessive adulation took MJ’s love for the game away.
The superstar didn’t look forward to stepping on the court. Thus after 3-peating from 1991-93, Jordan decided to retire from the sport. MJ’s father’s tragic death impacted him severely, which would draw him further away from basketball.
Ahmad Rashad, a close friend of the Bulls superstar, wasn’t surprised with Jordan’s decision to retire. Rashad believed MJ had this coming.
Ahmad Rashad wasn’t surprised by Michael Jordan’s decision to play baseball
While speaking to Chicago sports historian Jack M Silverstein in 1994, Rashad revealed he wasn’t taken aback by MJs decision. Being under the public glare every second made MJ lose his love for the game. The constant hype and adulation had him mentally drained.
“I think he had gotten so tired of the hype and so tired of the media that he wanted to find a place where he could play and really just have fun.”
“He loves baseball, Rashad said. “And his father always wanted him to play baseball. Being away from basketball gave him an opportunity to adjust his life to not having his dad and moving on.”
Thus MJ’s father’s death was the final push for him to come to his decision. The 10x scoring champion’s father always wanted him to play baseball. Thus after 3-peating, Jordan would retire from the NBA in 1993.
MJ would sign a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox. However, the superstar was unable to replicate his basketball success in baseball. Thus after player for a year and a half, the former DPOY would make a comeback.
Jordan would return to the NBA as he had never left. The 14x All-Star would 3-peat for the second time from 1996-98. The 1995-96 season was the iconic 72-10 season. Jordan would never let any contest go till a Game Seven and was Finals MVP in each case.