Today in sports history (1999), arguably the greatest NBA player of all time decided to hang it up again. This was the second time Michael Jordan retired, as he previously retired in 1993 before coming back for the end of the 1994-95 season.
His second retirement would be brief as well, as he returned with the Washington Wizards for the 2001-02 season.
Questionable Timing for Michael Jordan
There were plenty of rumors swirling as to why Michael Jordan decided to retire. During the season, tensions were high between head coach Phil Jackson and Chicago Bulls general manager Jerry Krause. Jordan went on record during the previous season saying that he didn’t want to play for any coach other than Jackson. When he announced his retirement, however, Jordan said his decision was due to his lost drive and desire to play professionally.
For NBA fans, it seemed like an end of an era. While it would turn out to be the last time Jordan ever played for the Chicago Bulls, at the time it seemed as if it would be the last time Jordan ever hit the court. At the time, Jordan said he was “99.9 percent sure” he wouldn’t come back when asked if there was any chance. While Jordan did come back for two seasons with the Washington Wizards from 2001-03, the Bulls dynasty had officially ended.
Chicago Bulls Crash to Earth
To say the Bulls were a dynasty would somehow be an understatement. From 1988-98 the worst season the Bulls had was losing in the conference semifinals. Over 10 seasons, the Bulls won six championships. The other four seasons saw them lose in the conference finals twice and the conference semifinals twice. Michael Jordan and the Bulls were the NBA and Jordan’s second retirement ended that. The Bulls have never been the same to this day.
Since Jordan left Chicago, the best year was the 2010-11 NBA season. The Bulls, led by Derrick Rose, made the conference finals before losing to the Miami Heat. In the 23 seasons since Jordan’s retirement, the Bulls missed the playoffs 12 times and only made the conference finals once. While the Bulls will always be synonymous with Jordan and glory, the franchise has lost its allure and has struggled to regain it ever since.