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Magic uncovers story behind Michael Jordan’s No. 12 nameless jersey

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Die-hard Michael Jordan fans know that apart from donning no. 23 and 45 jerseys, the Greatest of All Time once wore a nameless no. 12 jersey against the Orlando Magic. But only a few of them know about the real story behind it.

The short story is that someone stole Jordan’s iconic no. 23 jersey a few hours before the Bulls-Magic duel on Valentine’s Day 1990. During that time, teams did not carry a hoard of jerseys and shoes around. And so Jordan had no choice but to wear the no. 12 nameless jersey the entire game.

No one exactly knew how the thief managed to steal the jersey. After all, the Bulls locker room was tightly secured by three types of locks and only one person had the keys to it. But as revealed by Rodney “Sid” Powell, the Magic’s Director of Team Operations, the thief had some tricks up his sleeve.

“A couple days later, they found out from security that one of their personnel had set up a plan to get the jersey, had actually gone through another locker room, climbed over the ceilings, came through a ceiling tile, grabbed the jersey, put it back in the ceiling,” Powell continued, as transcribed by Rob Schaefer of NBC Sports. “Planning for, I guess, a few days later to come back and get it after thinking no one would figure it out.”

The thief’s motive is unclear. Did he think that Jordan wouldn’t be able to play if he stole the jersey, which in turn, would lead to a victory for the Magic? But as etched in history, the Magic did defeat the Bulls. But Jordan dropped 49 points on them.