Michael Jordan’s decision to retire from basketball in 1993 has always been met with speculation and rumor after leaving the game to play baseball for a year instead.
While conspiracy theorists pointed to Jordan’s gambling problems as the reason for his departure, it was actually the murder of the Chicago Bulls star’s father that got him out of the sport.
In the latest episodes of Netflixs and ESPNs The last dance, Jordan chokes tears when he talks about the death of his father, James Jordan Snr.
Michael Jordan shared how his father James (left) was tragically murdered in 1993
The 10-part docu series takes a closer look at Jordan’s incredible rise to the top of the NBA and his final season in Chicago, as he delves into off-the-court affairs and the heartbreaking events leading up to his first retirement.
On July 23, 1993, the world of Jordan would change forever after his father suddenly disappeared.
After missing for a long time, Jordan’s mother Deloris became worried when she hadn’t heard from James after a golf trip.
“I was doing my thing and my mom said she hadn’t spoken to him in a while,” said Jordan The last dance.
James Jordan Snr (back, left) was murdered in 1993, which led to Jordan’s first retirement
An emotional Jordan evokes memories of his father and tells how his father was his ‘rock’
“He drives and goes to Wilmington to visit old friends, stay a few days, drive back, but my mom always talks to him.
“When she was concerned, we were all worried.”
That evening, it was revealed that while on his way to attend one of his son’s charity events, Jordan Snr stopped on the freeway to take a nap after attending a funeral in Wilmington, North Carolina
He was later murdered after being shot by two 18-year-olds as part of a robbery, before his body was discovered 10 days later in a creek near the North and South Carolina border.
James Jordan’s car was later dumped by Daniel Andre Green and Larry Martin Demery, who were sentenced to life imprisonment for their involvement in the murder.
Video clips in Netflix’s The last dance Jordan Snr show how proud he was of his son
Following his father’s death, Jordan retired after winning the Chicago Bulls’ third NBA title
The domino effect sparked a shock wave through the sports world, with the horrific events playing a major role in Jordan, which withdrew from basketball.
An emotional Jordan remembers the memories he had of his father, who attended almost all of his games that he played in high school, college and at the professional level.
“He was my rock. You know, we were very close. He was constantly giving me advice, ”added a tearful Jordan.
“He’s a voice of reason that always drove and challenged me, that’s the type of dad I had.”
While his father’s death was heavy enough to deal with, the episode takes into account how the American media speculated that his father’s death was actually a result of Jordan’s gambling habits.
‘That hurt. But you have people throwing darts who wanted to hurt me anyway, ”Jordan said. “It wasn’t the people I loved, the people who knew me and the people who cared about me. It was the people who were tired of me being at the top. ‘
While his father’s death was the main reason for his early retirement in the early 1990s, the fact that he was always at the top also created nerve-wracking pressures that made Jordan want to take on a new challenge.
Jordan went on to enjoy a period of playing minor league baseball for the Chicago White Sox
After winning his third NBA title, Jordan admitted that only he and his dad knew this would be his last game that has delivered so much to the city of Chicago in sports.
Many at the time refused to believe Jordan was retiring due to his father’s death and struggled to wrap their heads in how the NBA let their biggest draw so easily blossom into its prime.
It sparked wild conspiracy theories that Jordan had in fact been secretly given a one-year suspension from late NBA Commissioner David Stern for gambling, which allowed him to spend his year in baseball.
The theory has long floated around and has become the stuff of legend, but was rejected by Jordan and Stern themselves.
“I didn’t retire because the competition threw me out or they suspended me for a year and a half. That’s not true, ”said Jordan. “There is no truth to that. I needed a break. My father just passed away. I retired thinking I wouldn’t come back. ‘
Jordan emphasizes that there was no conspiracy behind his first retirement in 1993
After his one-and-a-half-year minor league stint for the Chicago White Sox, Jordan returned to basketball after deciding not to be a replacement for the team anymore.
Jordan returned to the Bulls at the end of the 1994-95 season, also honoring his father.
“I was nervous. I hadn’t played in a long time, ”said Jordan. “I felt naked because my dad just wasn’t there. It seemed so different. ‘
He would further strengthen himself as arguably the greatest player of all time by winning three more titles with the Bulls, despite having spent 18 months in a completely different sport.
With his return largely devoted to his father’s memory, Jordan is said to have the bittersweet taste of NBA gold without encouraging him there.