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Biggest Comebacks: Michael Jordan returns from retirement to win 3 more titles

Scott McLaughlin
November 16, 2018 - 2:21 pm
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Michael Jordan shocked the world on Oct. 6, 1993, when he announced that he was retiring from basketball.

Jordan and the Bulls were coming off a third straight NBA championship and he was just 30 years old. But he was also going through the toughest time of his life, as his father had been murdered that summer. Jordan later said his father’s death, combined with a loss of desire to play, influenced his decision.

Jordan had also found himself in some controversy that spring when he was seen gambling the night before a playoff game, and he later admitted to having lost thousands of dollars gambling. There was speculation that gambling problems may have factored into his retirement as well, although Jordan denied it.

Jordan decided to make a career change to baseball, citing his father’s dream of seeing him play in the big leagues. He signed with the Chicago White Sox in February 1994 and spent that summer playing for the Double-A Birmingham Barons, where he hit .202 with three home runs, 51 RBIs and 30 steals in 127 games.

By March 1995, though, Jordan was ready to play basketball again. In a two-word press release on March 18, he announced, “I’m back.” He scored 19 points in his return to the court the next day, scored 55 against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden a week later, and helped the previously-middling Bulls go 13-4 down the stretch to make the playoffs.

The Bulls lost to the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs that spring, but Jordan had been his usual dominant self, ensuring Chicago would be the team to beat the following year.

Jordan won his eighth scoring title and fourth NBA MVP award in 1995-96, and the Bulls steamrolled through the playoffs to win a fourth title in six years. They went on to win two more titles in 1997 and 1998 to complete their second three-peat of the decade. In the process, Jordan won his fifth MVP award, fifth and sixth Finals MVP awards, and ninth and 10th scoring titles to cement his spot as the greatest player of all time.

Jordan retired again during the 1998-99 NBA lockout before making another comeback in 2001, this time with the Washington Wizards. While that comeback wasn’t quite as successful, Jordan’s original comeback in the 90s stands as arguably the greatest in history.

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