Michael Jordan retired from the NBA for the first time on October 6, 1993, before moving on to play baseball. A year later, Jordan returned to the NBA and won the Chicago Bulls three more NBA titles, cementing his legacy as one of the greatest in the sport. When he returned, he was wearing the Michael Jordan 45 jersey. NBA fans have often asked 'Why did Michael Jordan wear 45 after his return?'. Here is the answer to 'why did Michael Jordan wear 45 after his NBA return'.
Why did Michael Jordan wear 45 after his NBA return? Though there were a lot of rumours as to why Jordan wore No. 45, the six-time NBA champion himself explained the reason in his autobiography For the Love of the Game. As per his book, he wore the Michael Jordan 45 jersey throughout high school till his junior year. At the time, he played for the varsity team where his brother Larry also wore the same number. The NBA legend ended up choosing 23 in the NBA because it was close to 45's half.
Jordan left the NBA to play in Minor League Baseball as a result of his father's murder. He wore 45 while playing baseball, and stuck with the number when he came back to the NBA. In his book, Jordan stated that he wanted a new beginning and hence chose a number that his father had not seen him play in. However, he played with the number 45 for only 22 games and went back to number 23 on his 23rd game back in the league. The switch in the numbers was due to the Bulls' loss during the Eastern Conference semi-finals caused due to a steal from Nick Anderson. In a post-game interview, Anderson stated that Number 45 will never be 23 and Andersen could never have stolen the ball from number 23.
However, Jordan's mid-season switch cost the team a $25,000 fine for each game he did not wear 45. The league had released a statement which indicated that 'the issue of jersey numbers should not be allowed to become a distraction' from the on-going playoffs. In the end, the Bulls spent $100,000 on Jordan's jersey number that season. He changed to 23 again next season. Jordan later stated that he thought the number would work as he did not have any association with it. However, it only brought back bad luck as it was a part of him outside and not in the basketball environment.