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The Last Dance

The Last Dance: What was being said when Michael Jordan retired for the first time and returned

Within a span of 17 months, Michael Jordan shook up the sporting world twice.

Following his third straight championship with the Chicago Bulls, Jordan announced that he was retiring from the game of basketball on Oct. 6, 1993. The reason why? There were several, but two of the biggest were that he had nothing left to prove and he wanted to pursue a "normal life."

Less than two years later, Jordan announced that he was returning to basketball with two simple words: "I'm back."

Jordan joined the Bulls for the end of the 1994-95 season, which ended with Chicago losing to the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs in six games. He then led the Bulls to three more championships between 1995-96 and 1997-98, marking his second three-peat of the decade.

Here's what was being said at the time of both of Jordan's historic announcements.

Oct. 6, 1993 - Michael Jordan retires

From The New York Times: "Suddenly, Michael Doesn't Play Here Anymore"

"Like Alexander the Great, Michael Jordan said he had no more worlds to conquer. And so, at age 30, the man generally considered the world's greatest basketball player announced today that he was retiring from the game and from the spotlight that had become so uncomfortable for him."

From the Chicago Tribune: "Jordan to retire from basketball"

"By early evening, word had spread among Jordan's teammates with those close to the Bulls superstar confirming the news. Jordan broke the news in an emotional meeting with coaching staff members on Tuesday, explaining that a combination of things led to the decision, but that in general he felt he had accomplished as much as he could, that it was time for the team to find its way without him.

"News of the retirement is not altogether shocking because speculation has swirled around the 30-year-old Bulls superstar over the last year that, with one year still remaining on his contract, he would finish out his career in correlation with the last season of the Stadium. The violent death of his father James last July sparked further theories that the close of his unparalleled NBA career would be hastened."

From The Washington Post: "Basketball Star Michael Jordan plans to retire"

"Jordan's father, James, frequently seen at his son's side during his celebrated career, was murdered on July 23 in North Carolina.

"During the last few years, Jordan (perhaps the most recognized athlete in the history of sports, with endorsement income of an estimated $30 million annually) has spoke of tiring of the burden of fame, telling friends he wouldn't be playing much longer. James Jordan's death led to speculation that Michael Jordan would quit, but he reportedly told Jackson that he was going to report to training camp early. NBA training camps are beginning to open, with the 1993-94 season less than a month away."

From the Los Angeles Times: "Without 'Anything Else to Prove,' Jordan Retires"

"Although Jordan is clearly serious about quitting basketball because he has nothing left to prove, one high-ranking official of the Bulls told The Times: 'In my heart, all I think Michael wants is a year to himself.'"

From the Chicago Tribune: "Area's economy could take a hit without Jordan"

"The impact that the 30-year-old superstar has had on the value of the Chicago Bulls alone is mind-boggling enough. Since Jordan's first year in 1984, the value of the team has increased 10-fold from $18.7 million to an estimated $190 million. And most economists agree that Jordan is responsible for much of that increased value because it's unlikely the Bulls would have won three straight NBA championships without him.

"Then there are the endorsements; the advertising and television revenues earned by local agencies and TV stations, the money earned by souvenir vendors, the $150 million in tourism dollars that the experts say are generated by the Bulls' success and Jordan's presence in the city, and even Michael Jordan's Restaurant at 500 N. La Salle St."

March 18, 1995 - Michael Jordan returns

From The Baltimore Sun: "Air-like Pippen deflates Bullets, 106-93"

"The Bulls have become the NBA's equivalent of the Rolling Stones, with media members trailing their every move since the Jordan rumors began a week ago. The latest unconfirmed Jordan rumor: He has scheduled a news conference for today to announce his intentions.

"'We really don't know too much about a press conference or anything, and, to be honest, we don't know if it's going to happen for sure,' said Bulls guard Steve Kerr. 'It's giving us energy. Right now we've been mired around the .500 mark. With him coming back, who knows?'

"If Jordan comes back, it might be enough to keep Pippen in a Chicago uniform. It has been reported that Jordan is trying to assure that the Bulls keep Pippen and redo his contract."

From AP News: "President Clinton took note of Michael Jordan's impending return"

President Clinton took note of Michael Jordan's impending return to the NBA with the Chicago Bulls today as the president spoke with reporters about a drop in the unemployment rate.

"'As of today, the economy has produced 6.1 million jobs since I became president, and, if Michael Jordan goes back to the Bulls, it will be 6,100,001 new jobs,' he said."

From The Los Angeles Times: "Air Jordan's Return Flight Home: 'I'm Back''"

"It is not known how long Jordan intends his comeback to last. He reportedly received assurances from Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf that players Scottie Pippen and B.J. Armstrong will not be traded, suggesting that Jordan is planning on staying another season or two.

"'I hoped for it (a comeback),' Bulls Coach Phil Jackson said. 'I never thought it would be an actuality.'

"'I don't know anything about what I'm going to do coaching-wise. He went through some of the plays (Saturday) we use in critical situations. It seems like he hasn't missed a beat.'"

From The New York Times: "The Jordan show is returning to the air today"

"In what may be the most anticipated return since MacArthur to the Philippines, or at least the sequel to 'Gone With the Wind,' Michael Jordan made it official yesterday and announced that he was coming back to the Chicago Bulls and would play in today's game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis.

"Jordan said simply, 'I'm back' in a statement released by his agent, David Falk, an understated re-entrance for a celebrated figure who has kept the basketball world on edge over 10 days of intense speculation."

From The Washington Post: "A little rusty, Jordan returns to court"

"With Michael Jordan back in the red road uniform of the Chicago Bulls today, the NBA felt like the NBA again. Is it asking a lot to assign that burden to Jordan, who ended a 17-month sabbatical here by scoring 19 points in a 103-96 overtime loss to the Indiana Pacers? Absolutely. But Jordan accepted long ago that his place is a special one in this league's lore, and after thinking about it for a couple of weeks, he jumped back into the fishbowl."

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