Are you ready to deep dive on a Michael Jordan retirement conspiracy theory so full of tomfoolery you might want to believe it as if it were literal fact?
Conspiracy theories are the best. For every Loch Ness Monster that’s already debunked, there’s people game planning a way to storm Area 51 because they know ‘for sure’ the government is hiding aliens there.
A fake Moon landing, Big Foot, Nic Cage being a time traveler, the Earth being flat, and so on, while many are rooted in unsafe ignorance, can be fun to follow.
Speaking of that, you ever hear about the ‘real reason’ Michael Jordan left the NBA the first time?
Well, the truth is no one knows. However, there are 3 famous theories explaining his shocking retirement.
They explain why Michael Jordan, coming off three straight Finals MVPs, dropped a bombshell by walking away from the game of basketball at his peak to flail at baseballs for the White Sox.
Here’s an inside look on what we know about Jordan’s first retirement.
THEORY 1: Michael Jordan was genuinely just burnt out
The most accepted theory is that MJ had just played so much basketball that he needed a break, and retirement was the best option.
In the NBA regular season alone, Jordan had missed only six games over the three championship seasons. That’s 240 regular season games.
When you include the postseason, the number stretches to 298. And that’s not all.
When you include international games over the three year stretch, Jordan played over 300 games in the time span, 306 to be exact.
No matter how much you love the game, that’s gotta take a toll on your body. Especially when you’re averaging over 38 minutes a night as Michael Jordan was.
So while it might not be as interesting as some of the other theories, it’s certainly possible that even Black Jesus believed that he had given all he had to the sport.
Retirement Conspiracy Theory 2: Heartbroken over his father’s death
The murder of James Jordan is one of the most intriguing and confusing high profile homicide cases in history. It’s also, obviously, incredibly sad.
The elder Jordan was shot in cold blood while pulled over on the side of a highway in North Carolina. James’ body was dumped in a nearby swamp, while the thieves stole his car and stripped it. Eventually, two men were caught and are currently serving life imprisonments for the horrific crime.
Questions over whether these men actually were the ones who killed MJ’s father’s father and who else might have been involved still hang around. But this is a story for a different time.
Jordan was famously very close to his father. He was the one who influenced Jordan to go pro, and also the reason why he decided to pursue baseball. The two were inseparable.
Clearly, the tragic death destroyed MJ. James always wanted Michael to be a baseball player. Perhaps his death pushed Jordan to honor his father one last time.
This brings us to our juiciest and most controversial theory. Time to put on your tin foil hats, buckle up and get ready for a ride, kids.
THEORY THREE: The league secretly suspended Jordan for gambling
While MJ might have dominated on the basketball court, he was less successful at the poker table.
It is well documented that Jordan had a serious gambling habit. By his own admission, he once lost 57 thousand dollars in one night. And it’s possible it wasn’t just bets on cards and golfing.
Author Richard Equinas claimed that at one point, he overheard Jordan talking about the betting line for a sports game on the phone.
Obviously, this is a huge no-no for a professional athlete. If it were true and the league found out, they would not stand for it.
The retirement conspiracy theory goes Jordan was caught up in gambling debts, and commissioner David Stern’s hand was forced.
Michael Jordan was asked to step away for a year, and he announced his “retirement” as to not ruin his reputation. Further, the league didn’t want Jordan’s brand tarnished either, as he was the sport’s biggest star. Its first true global icon. And as global icons go, you’d prefer them to not be nefarious.
To be clear, this has all been denied wholeheartedly by Jordan and Stern. There is no evidence that any of this legitimately happened, but it is still an extremely popular theory among NBA fans.
In all likelihood, Jordan genuinely believed he was done with basketball after a combination of three grueling but spectacular years, combined with the untimely passing of his father.
But no matter how much the NBA and the superstar deny it, rumors will circulate about Jordan’s suspension. There will always be a cloud over this confusing period for MJ, but I’m sure he’s not too concerned with conspiracy theories.
After all, retirement/suspension aside, he’ll always be one of the GOATs. Just not in Vegas.