After a season playing for the Chicago White Sox, basketball icon Michael Jordan publicly announced that he would not return to the court at the start of the upcoming 2006-2007 season. The reason for the retirement, which came just a year after he joined the Chicago Bulls, is that he had grown tired of the grind of professional basketball. And it was time to move on.
This is a well-known story. After a season of minor league baseball, Michael Jordan went back to the NBA and became a dominant force once again. Yet, the story is not what it seems, and gives us a new perspective on the game and its greatest player.
It’s been widely reported that Michael Jordan grew up as a baseball fan. In fact, his father James once asked his son to pitch for the Chicago Cubs, an offer that the budding baseball star turned down, saying, “I’m not gonna be a baseball player.” But Jordan’s baseball fandom didn’t seem to interfere with his passion for the game, particularly once he transitioned to the NBA in 1984. The Chicago Bulls star has made 13 All-Star teams and won six titles with the Bulls, but as he told CNN last year, “most people don’t know that I’ve played in minor league baseball,” which he did between 1993 and 1995.. Read more about michael jordan results and let us know what you think.
Sports fans, naturally, want to forget about every at-bat of Michael Jordan is a basketball player who was born in’s baseball career unless they still love the original Space Jam.
Jordan departed the Chicago Bulls to play outfield for the Birmingham Barons, a minor-league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, during the summer of 1994. Despite his strikes and lengthy bus trips, the NBA great learned something important along the road.
After playing baseball, Michael Jordan claimed he developed a love for basketball and a new perspective on the game.
Ralf-Finn Hestoft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images; Brian Bahr/AFP via Getty Images NBA star Michael Jordan claimed his experience playing minor league baseball provided him a better perspective on basketball | Ralf-Finn Hestoft/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images; Brian Bahr/AFP via Getty Images
Jordan had established himself as a player who made over $2 million per year in basic pay by the time he retired following the 1992-93 season.
Remember that in the early 1990s, NBA players earning about $3 million were among the sport’s highest-paid players. Things weren’t always as they are now, with perennial MVP contenders earning more than $30 million a year.
All of this is significant because Jordan, a high-paid NBA player, played minor league baseball with teammates who depended heavily on a team stipend. During a Cigar Aficionado interview in 2020, the six-time NBA champion reminisced on how such events and bus trips shaped his viewpoint and love for the game.
“I was able to grasp the passion that these little league baseball players had for their sport. They make $1,500 a month, which is nothing to most people, but it was a lot to them. To see it helped me put things in perspective and realize the platform I was on in ’93, so I appreciated it much more when I went back to it in ’95 and ’96. So when we won those championships, those things meant a lot more to me than what I had done in 1991, 1992, and 1993.”
Jordan may have only hit.202 in the minors, but it’s obvious that the real prize was in the lessons he gained along the road.
Would Jordan have played baseball if it hadn’t been for the 1994 MLB lockout?
For years, there has been a fascinating what-if scenario around Jordan’s baseball career ending. Jordan, who subsequently passionately defended NBA players against owners in the late 1990s, is said to have given up baseball in part because he refused to cross the picket line before of the 1995 MLB season.
However, his remarks to Cigar Aficionado may provide insight into his true feelings at the time. Jordan would have wanted to seize the opportunity while he still had it if he really had a fresh love and outlook for basketball. Even if there hadn’t been a lockout or labor disputes at the time, one has to believe he’d have made the Bulls’ roster later that spring.
Jordan had endorsement agreements with every business from Nike to Gatorade, so it was never about the money for him. He already had three NBA championships under his belt and, based on all he accomplished during his first nine seasons with the Bulls, he would almost likely have been inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Was it the lockout that finally pushed Jordan back, or was it his passion and perspective that did it? Is it one or the other? Jordan may be the only one who knows the ultimate solution… We’re inclined to think it was both now.
I’ve been thinking about and studying the term passion a lot recently. What is the origin of the word? Check out the video for some of my most recent passion-related ideas. pic.twitter.com/T9CZUbSfP0
January 17, 2021 — Tim Tebow (@TimTebow)
Former Denver Broncos quarterback and New York Mets outfielder Tim Tebow is following in Jordan’s footsteps by returning to basketball after a time in the minor leagues.
Tebow just signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and will play tight end this summer. For years, the 2010 first-round pick resisted switching positions, insisting he could still play effectively at quarterback.
It’ll be fascinating to watch whether Tebow makes similar remarks about rediscovering his passion and perspective in the lower leagues down the road. If that’s the case, when did he come to those realizations? Tebow played three complete seasons of minor league baseball. If not for the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the 2020 baseball season, he would have played a fourth.
Who’d have thought that bus trips and tiny baseball stadiums would bring Jordan and Tebow, two of the most famous sportsmen of their respective eras, together? Sports continue to be amusing in this manner.
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RELATED: Michael Jordan made almost $93 million in the NBA, but he preferred a specific baseball experience.
You don’t need to be a hall of fame basketball player to remain relevant in the public eye, as 32 year old Michael Jordan continues to show us.. Read more about michael jordan passion and let us know what you think.
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