The Suspicious Retirement Of Michael Jordan

The Suspicious Retirement Of Michael Jordan


(light bulb buzzing) (whistling and squeaking shoes) – Hello, and welcome to
Unsolved Sports Conspiracies, a show where we examine
sport’s greatest myths and debate their validity. This week we explore Michael
Jordan, AKA the Goat’s departure from basketball to baseball. Was it a decision made on his own volition or were their other factors involved? – Just blasphemy. – I know we’re talking about the GOAT, we’re talking about the
shiny god of basketball, perhaps the man who saved the sport, but you know what, we’re
doing the Lord’s work here. – Alright.
– So all you Jordan stans sharpen your knives and let’s dig in. In October 1993, just one
day before the start of training camp for the Chicago
Bulls 1993, 1994 season, Michael Jordan, widely considered to be the greatest basketball
player of all time, announced his retirement from the NBA. The announcement came as quite the shock, considering Jordan was only 30 years old, in the prime of his career,
and was dominating the NBA. Jordan was also coming off a three-peat. I think we need to give
a little perspective about how insane it was that he moved away from basketball at
the prime of his career. And one day before training camp. I think we should also
put into perspective if this was in the age of Twitter, Twitter would explode if
Lebron decided, “You know what? “Just won three in a
row, time to hang it up.” – [Zack] It’s like a, “Screw you, guys. “I’m outta here, you can’t
do anything about it.” – Phil Jackson’s looking at his playbook, all of them just have a triangle with ‘Jordan’ written in the middle of it. Following his NBA retirement,
Jordan went on to play professional baseball with
the Birmingham Barons, a AA Southern League
team, to mixed results, never achieving a spot
in the Major Leagues as Jordan had planned. Then, on March 18th,
1995, Jordan announced he was returning to basketball by sending out faxes via
his agent, David Falk, with a two-word quote from Jordan, quote, “I’m back,” end quote. Just reading that gave me chills. – That’s incredible. – [Ryan] Just 17 months
after his retirement, Jordan returned to play
out the rest of the season with the Bulls and, as many of you know, would later go on to
achieve a second three-peat in the year 1998 before
he retired for good. Those are the facts, but what
has puzzled many is the why. Why leave a sport when you’re at the top? Especially when you consider the fact that Jordan is famous for being
intensely competitive, taking pleasure in not
just beating his opponents, but dominating them. One possibility was to honor his father. Tragically, at the time
of his first retirement, Jordan was in mourning after the recent murder of his father, James Jordan, that had occurred less
than three months prior. The murder was said to be the result of a robbery gone wrong. Michael had been very
close with his father throughout his career and James Jordan was an avid baseball fan
who reportedly had said he wished Michael had
been a baseball player. – [Zack] That makes sense to me. His dad was a baseball guy, always wanted Jordan to play baseball. His dad passes away and
he’s like, “You know what? “I need to honor my dad.” I think that is a huge
factor in the whole reason why Jordan went on to play baseball. – [Ryan] And I know I’m
pushing the conspiracy here, but I gotta say, that’s a
pretty good explanation. I would want to honor my pop if he wanted me to play baseball. – [Zack] Now I will
say it’s a little fishy just because you are the
greatest basketball player. Like, people are already considering him one of the greats after his
first three championships. – [Ryan] In a weird way, though, it almost added to his legend and lore. Like, now the debate is
how many would he have won. – [Zack] Seven or eight. – [Ryan] Another
possibility was that Jordan simply wanted to try different things, perhaps bored by his steady
dominance of basketball. Jordan said during his
retirement press conference, quote, “I’ve always stressed
to people that have known me “and the media that has
followed me that when I lose “the sense of motivation and the sense of “to prove something as
a basketball player, “it’s time for me to move away from “the game of basketball,” end quote. Jordan reportedly did not want
his NBA career to fade out and, according to his teammates,
had been talking about the possibility of
retirement for some time. He was so dominant that
he was able to say, “I’m bored of this, I’m gonna
move on to something else,” and nobody was like, “(beep) you, Mike.” – [Zack] Well, once again,
I still think it was a sigh of relief for all
the NBA when Jordan left. – Well, that’s what I’m saying, that’s the point I’m making. If we were playing pick-up and we’d won six games in a row and
we went, “You know what? “Competition isn’t good
here, you all bore me. “It’s time to leave and
go to a better park.” – I think that the players that
you’re playing pick-up with, they’re mad because they’re like, “No, we wanna stay on the court,
we wanna play these guys.” – I realize I just
casually made a comparison between me and Zack
Evans to Michael Jordan, I realize that, but it was
for the sake of an example. – It will also happen
four to five more times in this episode. – Because it’s an easy comparison to make. – Easy, easy, I’ve been called the Michael Jordan of things before. – If I was a foot taller,
you’d read about me in the history books. (laughing) That being said, some have theorized that Jordan’s abrupt departure from basketball and his subsequent
return so soon afterward was a coverup to hide
a gambling suspension and that it was in the
best interest of the NBA to keep this quiet to maintain the image of the league and its star player. Let’s get in to the conspiracy. Before we get into this, I gotta say I am as big a Jordan fan
as most of you out there, but to establish this conspiracy, we do kind of need to establish
that he liked gambling. I may say some things that a lot of you out there don’t want to hear. – [Zack] Yeah, just ’cause he spends, you know, $100,000 in a
night just for no reason. – [Ryan] I don’t think he’s a bad person. You know what, it’s Monopoly money to him. I don’t give a (beep), he’s an adult. Do what you want with it, it’s your money. – Michael Jordan was the NBA, right? So I understand if you
were going to suspend him, you would maybe wanna keep it quiet, but there is so much trust in that, knowing that David Stern, the commissioner of the NBA at the time, being like, “Hey, here’s
our great idea, Mike, “you’re gonna fake retirement
and go play baseball “and we’re just gonna
cover this whole thing up, “but really you’re suspended
but just don’t tell anyone. “You can be back in a year.” Why would you suspend someone
just ’cause he gambles a lot? – Well, it’s good that you asked that because I’m about to get into just how possibly bad this actually was. And once again, Jordan stans,
stay out of my mentions. – Stay out of my mentions,
@ZackEvans on Twitter. (laughing) – [Ryan] In May, 1991, during the playoffs against Philadelphia,
Jordan used a two-day break in the series to go to Atlantic City, returning at 6:30 AM before
attending a 10 AM team workout. Two years later, in May, 1993, Jordan once again took a detour to Atlantic City to gamble in the midst of the Eastern Conference
Finals against the Knicks. He was reportedly gambling
until around 2:30 AM on a Tuesday morning
and returned to New York just ten hours before a game that night. He later explained he made such trips when he was too wound up to sleep. – [Zack] This is just
showing also how good Michael Jordan was, is
that he would stay up ’til 5 in the morning in Atlantic City and then just drop 40. – [Ryan] Yeah, (laughing) I know. – That’s my thing, like, it
never really affected Jordan. – It’s almost like he was so
bored that he felt the need to put challenges against himself. – Yeah, that’s crazy. – That’s one way to spin it. Another way to spin it is maybe
he had a gambling problem. Although Jordan’s
penchant for gambling was already established, it was
news of his associations with a few specific men
that brought his gambling into the media spotlight
in the early ’90s. In December, 1991, it came out that Jordan regularly participated
in high stakes gambling with a man named James Slim Bouler. – [Zack] I don’t like it,
anyone named like Slim, Slick. – [Ryan] Or if you have
little in front of face, like Little Jimmy. – [Zack] And if your name is Little Jimmy, but you weigh 300 pounds. – [Ryan] You don’t
(beep) with Little Jimmy. – [Zack] You don’t wanna
mess with those guys. – [Ryan] And Jordan messed with them. – [Zack] And Jordan was messing with them. – [Ryan] Bouler had twice been convicted for cocaine possession and
was facing a third charge which, if guilty, would saddle
him with a life sentence. He was also charged with money laundering. When investigators seized
Bouler’s belongings, they found a $57,000 cashier’s check made out to Bouler and
signed by Michael Jordan. – That’s bad. (laughing) Don’t like that. – Also, once again, not to
keep looping back to this, a testament to how good
he was at basketball. He was so good that things like this were like, “Eh, let him play.” Jordan explained that
the $57,000 was repayment for money Jordan had lost to
Bouler betting on golf games, as well as money Jordan
borrowed from Bouler to cover debts from poker
and other gambling endeavors. Also that year, on February 19th, 1992, bail bondsman Eddie Dow was shot dead by four men just outside
his home in North Carolina. The men who killed Dow
robbed him of the roughly $20,000 in cash he had in
his briefcase that night, but left the papers inside. Among those papers, police
found photocopies of three checks written by Michael
Jordan totaling $108,000, funds that were also related to gambling. – [Zack] No, Mike, come on. How much were, like, NBA
players getting paid back then? ‘Cause now they’re signing
$120 million contracts. – [Ryan] $108,000 to Steph Curry might as well be (beep) Disney dollars. In March, 1992, the NBA launched an investigation into Jordan’s gambling. While the league had no rules
against gambling in general and Jordan was not under
investigation by law enforcement, they wanted to ensure
Jordan had not bet on professional basketball games
and that his associations would not bring disrepute to the league. – [Zack] Okay, say he was
betting on basketball games. 90% of, like, crooked people
in professional sports who would bet on it, they
would bet on their team to lose and they would throw the game. – [Ryan] Yeah, they would shave points. – [Zack] Where Jordan
would do the opposite. He would bet on the Bulls to win and just go out and ball out. – [Ryan] Yeah, he’s like,
“Bet on me, I’m dropping 50.” – [Zack] Yeah. – [Ryan] A three-week
investigation turned up no evidence of wrongdoing on Jordan’s part and was laid to rest with
a promise from Jordan that he would no longer associate himself with high stakes gamblers. There you go, he didn’t do anything wrong. – [Zack] He’s clean, he’s like, “Hey, I have some shady friends.” I feel like that’s everybody. – [Ryan] Then on June 3rd,
1993, Richard Esquinas, a former general manager of
the San Diego Sports Arena, alleged that he and Jordan had gambled on golf games for years and that Jordan had racked up a debt of 1.25 million, which, according to Esquinas, was negotiated down to $300,000. In an interview with Connie Chung, Jordan denied Esquinas’s
figure of 1.2 million and claimed he only
ever owed him $300,000. – If Michael Jordan owes you 1.2 mill, you’re not gonna
negotiate down to 300,000. Almost a million dollars
less, $900,000 less. – Yeah, yeah, yeah. – Also, Michael Jordan’s good at golf. – [Ryan] The NBA launched
a second investigation shortly after Esquinas made
news with his allegations, but just a week and a half after Jordan’s October 6th retirement, NBA commissioner David
Stern announced that the investigation was concluded
and Jordan was cleared, which some point to as evidence
of the conspiracy theory. You get that, right? He says he’s going to
retire and then suddenly Stern comes in and goes, “He’s clear. “The investigation proved nothing.” Could be coincidence. – Man, slippery Stern. Let me just say, he did
great things for the NBA. (laughing) – [Ryan] Jordan’s wording during
his retirement announcement has been examined as possible evidence that Jordan made a secret
deal with David Stern. In the conference Jordan said, quote, “Five years down the line, “if that urge comes back,
if the Bulls have me, “if David Stern lets
me back in the league, “I may come back,” end
quote, the key part being, “If David Stern lets me
back into the league.” – [Zack] “If Stern let’s me back in,” what do you mean if,
you’re Michael Jordan. Imagine even, like, let’s say the Bulls before Michael Jordan got there, how much they were worth and then after the three championships
how much they were worth. – [Ryan] Yeah, I get
the point you’re making. You’re saying, like, if he’s
essentially saved the league, why is Stern then nickel-and-diming him over this (beep), like, gambling thing when in reality he can just
keep raking in the cash. And if Stern’s real interest
is saving the league, why not just let him play? – But if he did, say,
suspend Jordan, right, and gave him a secret suspension, you let Jordan leave for
a year and come back, all of a sudden those gambling
problems magically disappear. – Time heals everything. – You could walk up to Michael
Jordan right now and say, “I’ll bet you $1,000 that I could beat you “in a footrace from here to that door–” – Do you think you could,
50-year-old Michael Jordan? Let’s make it happen, I think I could too. – Yeah, MJ. – I’m calling you out, Mike. That being said, Stern insisted
there was no connection between this investigation
and Jordan’s retirement, stating, quote, “As far
as the NBA is concerned, “Michael Jordan did
nothing wrong and I resent “any implications to the
contrary,” end quote. I don’t trust this man. – Here’s the real conspiracy,
and it’s the movie Space Jam. – Okay. – Someone pitched him the
idea, the script for Space Jam, and it was a little soft,
“Why would I do this? “It’s just I’m gonna go
save the Looney Tunes?” And they go, “Here it is. “You retire from the NBA
and go play baseball. “We write this into the script.” It was all a marketing ploy
for the movie Space Jam ’cause the Space Jam movie does not work without him retiring and coming back. – I think it’s incredibly stupid. – Tell me it’s not crazy. – Oh, it’s crazy. – I’m just saying you saying that there is some weird secret suspension is crazier than me saying that it was all marketing for a movie that was a smash hit. I don’t think that gets talked about. Like, Michael Jordan just
opened up his entire life. Him retiring, the whole
reason why he comes back, for a movie with Looney Tunes. – [Ryan] Over the course
of his storied career, Michael Jordan has managed to astound the public at every turn, inspiring legions of
fans, including myself. The question of why perhaps the greatest basketball player of
all time left the sport only adds to the legend
and will remain unsolved. (suspenseful instrumental music)

100 Replies to “The Suspicious Retirement Of Michael Jordan”

  1. Hey everyone!! We wanted to try something new: Unsolved – Sports Conspiracies! We had such a fun time making it and hope you love it too. 🕵🏻 (don't worry — Shane didn't go anywhere!)

  2. You should do the 2002 World Cup final. R9 (Brazilian Ronaldo) was widely considered as the best in the competition but the night before the final, he had a convulsion but still played in the final after being cleared as fit. He wasn't his true self and France won 3-0 against Brazil. Many believe that Nike forced R9 to play as their soccer golden boy cannot be left out of the final and it would lead to lots more shirt sales. You should study this and study more theories. pls

  3. I guess all of you didn't watch the forest fenn episode, ryan said that he tried to persuade shane to be in buzzfeed unsolved sports conspiracy but shane don't wanna because he didn't care about sports. So there u go

  4. What’s the deal with all the cuts with iMessage text with them talking…. 1:06 3:05 4:17 5:33 7:13 8:01 9:37 10:14 11:55…. that’s so annoying if you have cameras set up just use what was filmed

  5. His dad was killed because of his debts in Vegas,,,2 men were pulled over a few miles from where his dad was found, and they had DL from Vegas!!!!! Not a coincidence, they didn’t want another Pete Rose Scandal.

  6. Anyone else think ryan is denying the last possible theory just because he is a Michael Jordan fan😂

  7. I remember when Space Jam came out on VHS and a special edition Space Jam coin came with the movie. I had a full blown meltdown in Mervins because my dad said no to buying the movie. He bought the movie and I got my coin. It was pretty bitchin.

  8. Jordan didn't save basketball, Magic and Bird did. And each of those players have as much right to the GOAT title as Jordan.

  9. Jordan didn't save the sport. He might have saved the monetary wealth of the ASSOCIATION (NBA) but he ruined the SPORT, or at least his success gave birth to a slew of wannabe guards who ruined the sport.

  10. Love Mike, but him going to baseball had nothing to do with honoring his father and everything to do with the NBA suspending him, because of the fact he didn't pay back mobsters gambling debts, which in turn played a role in his father's murder….it's not Rocket Science and way too many people with inside knowledge have confirmed this…..If you want to honor your father then just come out and say it….why not come back at the beginning of a season, instead of past the half way point???? It's because you were serving a suspension. MJ Stans making up fairytales lol

  11. Maybe it’s a little of both. The NBA was suspicious of his gambling and MJ was upset about his father

  12. After watching this it's just two dudes talking about some guy they dont know and I'm watching 2 dudes I dont know… some things won't ever go passed closed doors people let it go it's okay if u dont know a piece of info about a person whether there poor or rich

  13. I know for a fact that the NBA told him to walk away for a year. The reason? Because they found out her was betting on NBA games. FACT.

  14. I was waiting for them to go over the fact that "Space Jam" made this look like it was all absolutely fine…and that "Space Jam" is still an awesome movie.

  15. What about an episode on the Black Sox. I only know roughly what happened and I don't know if there's been any official ruling on it but I'm sure there are at least some conspiracy theories surrounding it.

  16. Dude Michael Jordan play for the White Sox Chicago White Sox that’s a major league baseball team get your facts Right

  17. I mean, the ‘he wanted to honour his dad by playing baseball’, theory isn’t mutually exclusive with the ‘gambling suspension’ theory, perhaps they went to him like “Look MJ, we need you to take some time off from the NBA while we sort this gambling stuff out” and he was like “I have the perfect idea!…”

  18. Michael Jordan might've lost a lot of money gambling but he was damn near printing money with endorsement deals and off court ventures. Down here in North Carolina, he had 2 car dealerships and a restaurant all within 5 miles of each other

  19. Wish they went m0ore into detail…
    but from my understanding Jordan was broke from gambling problems..
    The mysterious death of his father which jordan was blamed-ish.

    His divorce even proved that he was broke and he got caught shaving points in process.
    So the people made him sign contracts(slaved up) left for "basebal"l and came back after all said and done and somehow micheal had pretty much an untarnished record..

  20. Not *probably, MJ is indeed the GOAT. We non Americans (the rest of the world… Duh) were introduced to NBA by no other than MJ. The global scale of basketball in general and NBA in particular becomes huge thanks to MJ.

  21. I’m pretty sure it goes deeper than that, he would gamble with shady/mob type people, they killed his father bc he didn’t have enough to pay them back and killed him as a warning.

  22. The problem is that the league was watered down and weak at the time. Thats why he could do what he did, he and his team was just too damn good compared to the rest of the league

  23. I remember Jordan saying he just wanted to try to see if he could succeed in baseball also. I actually remember the news conference. Barely remember the gambling accusations though.

  24. I’ve wrote an discarded 3 comments out of self confusion. I’m not worthy of commenting at this time…(out of fear of retaliation from unnamed groups.)

  25. There is one Creator and He is Yahuwah(YHWH)! MJs not a god! And, the term the goat is from the baphomet, a goat, tr1n*y idol that satanist worship–who is probably satan himself!

    Now, Houston wasn't as good as the Bulls as far as dominance, but they owned the Jordan led Bulls: going 6-2 against them from 90-93! Not only that, Jordan didn't score more than 35 in any game(NO BREAKOUT GAMES) and was held to 27 or less in the last 3 games IN A ROW of the series(going into Michael's retirement)! One of the games was a 22 point game in more than 40 minutes! Who does those things to Jordan?! Add to this, 4 or 5 of the games where double digit wins for Houston and the Bulls were held to 83 points in one of the games! Houston also averaged over a 100 points in the series. And, they would have met them in the Finals that year! Jordan hated looking bad and a loss in the Finals series would have been the ultimate shame for him! It would have broken in pieces the whole unbeatable in the Finals thing. And, he and Olujawon were in the same draft class, too. So, was he afraid of Houston?! After all, they owned him and got better every year until they were in the Finals.

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