NBA’s GOAT, Michael Jordan, announced to the world that he would be returning to basketball 26 years ago today. After nearly 18 months off the court, Jordan announced his comeback eight days after he announced that he would be leaving baseball.
Instead of opting for a press release or an on-camera appearance, Jordan chose to declare his revival with just a two-word statement via fax machine: “I’m Back.” Unlike today, athletes in the ’90s didn’t have the option to communicate with fans via social media, so they had to use the devices of the times.
The statement, facilitated by David Falk and Alyson Sadofsky, wasn’t the original announcement they planned. Falk and Sadofsky’s initial press release was a whopping eight paragraphs. On the morning of, Sadofsky found seven messages on her answering machine from Falk.
“David wasn’t a yeller, but he pretty much yelled, ‘I need you to get to the office now.’ And that I needed to call him when I got there, and he’d give me further instructions,” remembers Sadofsky.
Falk and Jordan reviewed several statements together before the announcement. Falk wanted Jordan to give him ideas on what to put in the release. “What do you want me to say?” Falk asked. Jordan waited before responding, with remarkable confidence: “I’m back.”
Michael Jordan Returns for the Love of the Game
The next day, Jordan stepped back onto the court donning his red and black jersey. That night, facing off against the Indiana Pacers, he played alongside his teammates like no time had passed.
For 43 minutes, Michael Jordan floated up and down the court. He finished the game with 19 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Even though the Pacers defeated the Bulls in overtime, the Bulls won 24 of their final 34 games. They finished the 1994-95 season with a 47–35 record, going 13–4.
Despite his intermission from the game, Jordan performed, as usual, extraordinarily during the rest of the season. He made the game-winning jump shot in his fourth game back. In his next game, he scored 55 points against the Knicks on March 28, 1995.
Invigorated with Jordan back on the team, the Bulls went 13–4 to make the playoffs. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Orlando Magic. Jordan averaged 31 points per game in the series, but Orlando won the series.
Today, Jordan is one of the most accomplished athletes in the sport’s history. With five regular-season MVPs, six Finals MVPs, and three All-Star Game MVPs, Jordan has well-deserved the title of basketball’s GOAT. Magic Johnson put it perfectly when he said, “There’s Michael Jordan and then there is the rest of us.”