Contrary to media reports, 6x NBA champion Michael Jordan did not wear his shorts backward in his comeback game during the 1994-95 season.
After missing one and a half years of basketball, MJ would make a grand comeback in a match against the Indiana Pacers. As several analysts and trade pundits predicted, Jordan looked rusty and out of practice in his comeback game.
On This Date: In 1995, Michael Jordan played his first game after announcing his return to the NBA. pic.twitter.com/ja4VOK4qqe
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 19, 2019
The 6x Finals MVP had a disappointing performance against the Pacers, scoring 19 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. Jordan was 7-of-28 from the field.
However, one of the rather funny highlights during the match was MJ wearing his shorts backward. Many people in the media felt Jordan was so nervous during his comeback game that he forgot to wear his shorts properly.
Nevertheless, the Bulls equipment manager John Ligmanowski clarified later that it was a quality control issue. Shutting down all the rumors of MJ being so nervous that he couldn’t pay attention while wearing his shorts.
The Bulls retired Jordan’s No 23 only a couple of months before his return. However, the former DPOY decided to wear no 45 in his new chapter with the Bulls.
That coincidentally was the same no the 14x All-Star wore during his short stint in baseball and was also his brother Larry’s prep number.
Michael Jordan did not wear his shorts backward during his comeback game in 1995
As the world sat eager to watch, His Airness return to the NBA hardwood. One could not help but notice MJ’s shorts. The media, on the other hand, didn’t waste any time capturing the moment.
Many analysts and news channels cited anxiety and nervousness for his comeback as a reason for his shorts worn backward, as the NBA logo appeared to be at the back rather than the front.
The Bulls equipment manager Ligmanowski later clarified that it was Champion’s fault, not MJ’s. Champion was the manufacturer of clothing for the NBA.
“Champion sewed the logo on the back of the short instead of the front of the short,” Ligmanowski said. “So he had his shorts on right, just that the logo was sewed on the back of his short instead of the front of the short. That’s a quality control problem at Champion, not Michael not knowing how to put his shorts on.”
When asked about the incident the MJ said, “I had my shorts on right, they just did them wrong. I knew it. I tied them from the front. I knew they weren’t on backward.”
Though MJ had a sloppy start to his comeback, he would go on to average 26.9 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 5.3 APG in the 17 games he played in 1994-95. However, the Bulls couldn’t get past the Orlando Magic in the semi-finals and were eliminated in 6 games.