On January 13, 1999, in Chicago, Michael Jordan announced his retirement from sport in front of an incredible crowd of journalists. This announcement comes seven months after his last game (and sixth title with the Bulls) punctuated by this famous basket forever registered in the collective subconscious of any basketball fan.
True living myth, Michael Jordan is not yet 36 years old but he is mentally tired. He had returned to become the boss of the NBA again. He did so with three new titles. The circle is complete. ” Physically I feel great, but mentally I’m exhausted. I don’t feel like I have a challenge. Never say never. I am 99.9% sure of my choice »He explains to justify his decision.
At the time of this announcement, he was injured …
This feeling had already pushed him to retire in 1993, with the tragic circumstance of the loss of his father, James, assassinated in July. There, we discover that he has just had an operation on a ligament of a finger, broken by cutting a… cigar.
« My decision was already made ” he smiles. “The doctors told me I wouldn’t be able to play for two months. Hope I don’t mind golfing. “
This decision certainly expected (ESPN Magazine had in June considered this retirement…), caused all the same a sporting shock. And for good reason, since at that time the NBA came out of a terrible lockout with a future season shortened to 50 games.
No All-Star game and especially no Michael Jordan to relaunch the machine from an economic and media point of view. This announcement drew a host of tributes from around the NBA world and around the world.
– Shaq : « I will tell my grandchildren that I played against him. »
– Joe Dumars : « We don’t replace Jordan, no one should just try. »
– David Stern: ” The NBA is very strong. She got even stronger with Michael Jordan. When Larry Bird and Magic Johnson retired, everyone said the NBA was over. No one mentioned Michael. It is a championship that does not forgive. We must win. »
Chamberlain with regard to Pat Ewing and Charles Barkley who will not be able to “Never say they beat the Bulls with him”, Michael Jordan will end his interview with a legendary “Thank You Chicago”, and left the world of sport to spend time with his family.
The next day, January 14, the newspaper L’Equipe headlined: “L’Inoubliable. »Proof that this retreat goes beyond borders and the ocean. It is a legend that leaves. Again at the top. But two years later, after the tragedy of September 11, he will come out of retirement again to offer himself a final challenge in the franchise of which he is then president, the Wizards. A final episode completely absent from “The Last Dance”.