SPORTS

Scottie Pippen Remembers Michael Jordan's Return To The NBA 20 Years Ago: 'I Thought He Was Done'

03/19/2015 05:20 am ET | Updated Mar 19, 2015
VINCENT LAFORET via Getty Images

On March 18, 1995, following his first retirement from the game, basketball legend Michael Jordan announced his return to the sport via fax.

I’m back” was all he said.

Two decades later, on the anniversary of those two memorable words, Jordan’s Chicago Bulls teammate Scottie Pippen took to Twitter for a walk down memory lane.

Jordan retired from the NBA after the 1992-93 season. He had just helped the Bulls clinch a third straight NBA Finals championship. He was only 30 years old.

But Jordan said that he’d lost the desire to play basketball professionally, adding that his father’s 1993 murder had played a role in his decision.

In early 1994, Jordan began playing minor league baseball.

In 1995, Jordan’s desire to play basketball seemed to have returned. Pippen recalled when his teammate came back to Chicago’s Berto Center, where the Bulls practiced at the time.

In March that year, Jordan announced he was returning to the sport.

As the Washington Post noted, Jordan gave up his iconic number 23 when he left to play baseball, saying that it was the last number his dad had seen him play in. He then adopted the number 45. (Jordan would later reclaim number 23 during the 1995 Eastern Conference semi-finals.)

The "double-nickel game" was, as ESPN pointed out, "Jordan's fifth back in a Bulls uniform and first against the Knicks. He scored 55 points in a 113-111 win at Madison Square Garden."

In the final moments of the game, Jordan passed Bill Wennington the ball for a game-clinching layup.

Jordan's return to the Bulls, however, was not smooth-sailing. The team would go on to lose to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semi-finals.

It certainly wasn’t game over for the Jordan-Bulls legacy, though. Dennis Rodman joined the team before the 1995-1996 season kicked off, and the Bulls would eventually win three more NBA championships.

jordan pippen rodman

Chicago Bulls players Dennis Rodman (L), Scottie Pippen (C) and Michael Jordan (R) hold three of the team's four recent NBA championship trophies at a 18 June, 1996 rally in Grant Park in Chicago.

Jordan would subsequently retire two more times from the NBA. He played his final NBA game for the Washington Wizards on April 16, 2003.

During his illustrious career in the sport, Jordan won two Olympic gold medals, and was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player five times and an NBA All-Star 14 times.

To this day, Jordan holds the NBA record for the highest career regular season scoring average (31 points per game) and the record for the most seasons (10) leading the league in points.

Also on HuffPost:

101 NBA Posterizations
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS