A brief about how basketball legend Michael Jordan almost ended up playing for Estudiantes Madrid due to the 1998-99 NBA Lockout
After the 1998 season, there was a big wave of uncertainty. There was uncertainty in the Bulls camp, as coach Phil Jackson was forced to part ways with the team. There were a lot of roster members that were unsure about their future with the team, and it was all due to the bad blood with the GM Jerry Krause. Michael Jordan, the face of the Bulls, was an unrestricted free agent and had talked about following Jackson out of the door.
However, the wave of uncertainty wasn’t only in the Bulls camp. It was all around the league as well. The owners and the NBPA were discussing the Collective Bargaining Agreement(CBA) in that offseason. There was no consensus achieved and a threat of a lockout was made on June 22nd, 1998. This resulted in the third-ever lockout in the league history, and by far, the longest one. The same lasted some 204 days, from July 1 1998 to January 20, 1999. During this time, one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history almost happened.
Michael Jordan almost signed with the Estudiantes Madrid
After the second 3-peat, Michael Jordan was an unrestricted free agent. He wasn’t very sure about what the future holds, but the only thing he knew was that it wasn’t with the Bulls. During the 1998 Lockout, Spanish basketball club Estudiantes Madrid approached His Airness.
According to Gigantes magazine, the club was ready to offer MJ €12M for the remaining four months of the ACB season. However, the detail that caught Jordan’s eye the most was not that. It was the bonus option that was included – private golf lessons with Severiano Ballesteros, a legendary Spanish golfer. This would mean Jordan plays Golf during the week, and basketball on the weekends.
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However, before anything could be finalized, the NBA Lockout ended. His Airness decided to announce his retirement, for the second time.