Today marks the arrival of the Air Jordan IX ‘Johnny Kilroy’, a pair playing off an old ad campaign in which Michael Jordan’s retirement was purported by an inquisitive Steve Martin to be fake, with Kilroy being one of many alter egos. The date was one chosen by Jordan Brand for historical purposes, Michael Jordan having announced his first retirement on October 6th of 1993. It was a tough moment to watch, Michael appearing in a press conference alongside then Chicago Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf to announce that he was stepping away from the game of basketball after nine years with the Bulls. “It’s time for me to move away from the game of basketball” he explained, citing his lack of interest in the game after having already accomplished so much. Speculation ran rampant at the time regarding other possible motivations, the tragic murder of his father earlier in the year thought to have added to Mike’s decision.
In a move that left even more stunned he made the decision to pursue a career in baseball, signing a contract with Chicago White Sox affiliate the Birmingham Barons. That stint didn’t prove promising for Mike, who struggled on the diamond and of course eventually, thankfully, returned to the NBA and the Chicago Bulls to dominate once again. The retirement situation left the Air Jordan IX as an odd man out of sorts in terms of that first string of Tinker Hatfield designed Air Jordan’s, the shoe itself never laced up by Mike in an NBA game during its OG run. Click through with us to talk a walk down memory lane via the shocking press conference in which Michael Jordan announced his first retirement from the game and drop us a comment if you remember this day in basketball history.