On This Day In Sports: Jordan Returns To The NBA, Rocking Number 45

    On this day in 1995, The GOAT returned to the hardwood. The mystery of Michael Jordan and his nearly two-season layoff from the NBA in the midst of his prime to go play minor league baseball still confounds sports fans. There are varying stories, some seedy and some inspirational as to why the face of the NBA would toil with the Birmingham Barons, a Double-A minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox. 

    Jordan simply said: “You tell me I can’t do something,” Jordan said, “and I’m going to do it.”

    In February 1994, one summer after his pops James was shot and killed and his red Lexus found alongside a North Carolina highway, the greatest hoops player that ever breathed air signed a minor league contract with the Chicago White Sox. 

    When Jordan returned to the game during the 1995-96 season, he wore a new number, 45 to signify a new start in his life. His shot was a bit rusty as he scored 19 points on 7 for 28 shooting, but his impact on the game was felt as he also grabbed six rebounds and handed out six assists.

    Michael Jordan Returns (March 19, 1995)

    Michael Jordan returns to the NBA from his brief retirement where he was playing baseball. Michael scored 19 points on 7 for 28 shooting while grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists. However the Bulls were defeated by the Indiana Pacers 103-96. For more exciting and rare footage log onto www.arhenetwork.com.

    The Bulls lost to the Indiana Pacers 103-96 and would fall to Shaq, Penny, and Orlando in the second round of the playoffs with Jordan playing just 17 games. But No. 45 was back and the following season Jordan would win the 1996 championship, the first of three in a row. 

    The Bulls led the NBA in points per game (105.20), offensive efficiency (115.2) and defensive efficiency (101.8) and had winning streaks of 13 and 18 games and lost just one playoff game en route to the NBA finals where the Bulls recaptured the throne and won the NBA Finals against the Seattle Supersonics in a 4-2 series.

    JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.