March 19, 2015 BY Yale Schalk / 0
Twenty years ago yesterday, Michael Jordan returned to the NBA. Twenty years ago today, he suited up for the Bulls for the first time in one year, eight months and 28 days since winning the 1993 NBA title.
Though Jordan was still conditioned for baseball, he performed admirably with only a handful of practices under his belt.
The stat line for Jordan’s first game back against the Pacers: 19 points, six rebounds, six assists, three steals, three turnovers, and three fouls in 43 minutes. That includes 7 of 28 from the field, 0 for 4 from three-point range, five of six from the free-throw line. It didn’t matter so much what numbers he put up, his mere presence on the court was must-see TV. But then Pacers had to go and spoil the feel-good vibe. Pacers 103, Bulls 96.
As Jordan played more, he played better. His next game three days later in his final Boston Garden appearance, he dropped in 27 points. Three days after that in Atlanta, 32 points including the game-winner. Three more days, the 55-point scorcher in Madison Square Garden.
In those 17 games to close the 1995 season: 26.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 1.8 steals.
In 10 playoff games: 31.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.3 steals, 1.4 blocks.
But enough stats, what was the sneaker situation? In this department, Jordan returned in the Air Jordan 10 “Chicago” (releasing again March 28, 2015 for $190), entered the playoffs in Air Jordan 10 “Shadow,” then switched to an early pair of Air Jordan 11 “Concord” for Game 1 of the second round against Orlando. Game 2 was again Concords and the jersey switch back to number 23 for good, Game 3 he decided to take a flyer on the Nike Air Flight One. Game 4 he broke out Air Jordan 11 “Space Jam” with 45 on the heel, which he’d go on to wear in Games 5 and 6, as well.
Take a quick visual trip back to spring 1995 in the photo gallery ahead, and share your recollections of MJ’s first comeback in the comments.
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