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“Really Happy It Turned Out That Way”: Former Teammate Reveals His Role Behind the Return of Michael Jordan in 1995

Published 05/13/2020, 9:52 AM EDT

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Through ‘The Last Dance,’ long time fans of Michael Jordan can relive his legacy through installments every week. ESPN and Netflix have partnered to present the ten-part docuseries of the greatest basketball player in history. 

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The series chronicles most parts of MJ’s life during his six-title winning runs with the Chicago Bulls from 1991-93 and 1996-98. However, there is also an 18-month period when MJ quit basketball and bid adieu to the NBA. Following the death of his father, he announced his first retirement, which shocked the basketball world. He then went on to play a few months in Minor League Baseball, which didn’t work, contrary to his belief. 

The retirement and return of Michael Jordan


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Ultimately, the Jumpman had to return to the NBA. He had to come back to what he was best at. From winning three consecutive championships to playing baseball, MJ had done it all. And he was hungry for more. His desire to win couldn’t keep him at retirement for long.

In 1995, he silenced the world with his message “I’m back.” Two words. That was all he needed to announce his return to basketball. But, in the recent episodes of the docuseries, ‘His Airness’ did reveal some factors behind his return, and having breakfast with a former teammate was one of them.


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How a teammate helped Jordan return to the NBA

We’ve all heard that teammates in sports stay with you through thick and thin. They will ever be ready to go out to war with you. But BJ Armstrong, former Bulls point guard, did something beneficial for both the city of Chicago and the NBA. 


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He recently joined ‘The Jump’ on ESPN, to reassure the fans on what went behind his meeting with a ‘retired’ MJ in 1995. Armstrong revealed the level of friendship he shared with MJ and mentioned how he would keep in touch with him even after he left the team.

“He was in Chicago doing something, and I was like why don’t you come by, and one thing led to another, we went to breakfast. And before you know it, it went from ‘how are you doing’ to trash-talking to like ‘I can beat you’ to ‘no you can’t’ and as always, he always wins in the end. 

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“I couldn’t believe he did it,” Armstrong further added. “And I’m so embarrassed to say that I lost to him, but If I did lose to someone, it had to be him.” Though Armstrong couldn’t believe that he lost to a rusty MJ who hadn’t played in about 18-months, he was overjoyed looking at the passion MJ still had in him.

“It was great to see him come back. It was great to see him back around the guys, it was great to see him talk trash. And I’m really happy that it turned out that way,” Armstrong exclaimed. To conclude, the impromptu breakfast MJ had with Armstrong was a turning point in his life. Traveling with him to the Bulls facility and shooting some hoops made the Jumpman realize how much he missed the sport. And the decision ‘His Airness’ took after his meeting with Armstrong, is history.



Arjun Athreya

2181 articles

Arjun Athreya is a senior writer at Essentially Sports and has been contributing since early 2020. Having developed an avid interest in sports at an early age, he pursued a Journalism degree and graduated from Madras Christian College. Arjun manages the Golf division and its content, and primarily covers news pertaining to the NBA as well.