Tuesday, August 24th, 2010 at 10:00 am  |  28 responses

Documentary: Gambling Not Source of MJ’s 1st Retirement

ESPN‘s latest sports doc examines Michael Jordan’s initial retirement from the NBA, but its director tells the Chicago Tribune that despite making for a good story, it had nothing to do with MJ’s gambling issues: “For years, there have been whispers around the NBA that Michael Jordan first retired from the league in 1993 to play baseball because of his heavy involvement in gambling. Ron Shelton, who directed the ESPN ’30 for 30′ documentary ‘Jordan Rides the Bus’ that airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, has been disabused of that notion. ‘I probably, like most people in America, thought he left the NBA for a year because of gambling,’ Shelton told us Monday. ‘After researching the project, I was utterly convinced that was nonsense.’ Shelton said he found no reason to believe the NBA quietly punished Jordan for a year because of gambling. ‘Everybody that I talked to said they spent hundreds of hours looking for smoking guns and there is not even a leak; it’s just circumstantial. It’s just a theory,’ he said.”

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  • JoeMaMa

    “And thus, I conclude with complete certainty, that as a sycophantic and fawning sports network, we’ve found nothing wrong with the-guy-who-would-crush-us-if-we-said-otherwise’s 1st retirement. Now stay tuned for the burning in effigy of Arash Markazi for his horrible depiction of LeBron’s innocent night out.”

  • http://thekobebeef.wordpress.com LDR4

    He left to prove that he could. He may have not made it to the Show but playing in the minors is a dream that many will never realize coming out of high school or college.

  • Ryan D

    Wait i thought he left cause of his father passing away?

  • http://slamonline.com Tzvi Twersky

    I’ve seen the doc twice already in the last two weeks. I highly recommend watching it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Eboy

    So what is the reason he left, Mr. Shelton?

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    Well this is just fuc(ing ground-breaking. Bravo. Btw, the first comment here is classic funny.

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    ROFL joemama. Well done.

  • Frees

    Clearly he left because he coincided with the Space Jam script.

  • peter

    I always thought he left cause his dad was murdered earlier in the year…and because Phil could present him with no new challenges.

  • Mr. Robinson


  • http://Nba.com GP23

    He left as he had nothing else to prove. He dominated the league, and won everything. He lost motivation to play. However, his “love of the game” theory clearly showed when he came back in 95.

  • T-Money

    Sometimes, it’s not that deep. He may have retired because he got fed up with his job and was in a position to still live comfortably à la Jim Brown or Barry Sanders. Only thing is he obviously was a worse baseball player than he thought and he ended up missing hoops.

  • http://www.google.com/news BETCATS

    I really want to see that documentary. The 30 for 30 series is actually really interesting. ESPN really has a broad spectrum now. From quality sh!t like 30 for 30 to sh!tty sh!t like The Decision. Shots fired!

  • IknowImRight

    No he was just trying to make another trading card worth a lot more mone… so he can do what, do what, yup Gamble!

  • JTaylor21

    LDR4, So he left just to play in the F*CKING minors? What kind of dream is that.

  • JTaylor21

    He left to go play for the Chicago “Dirty” White Sox.

  • http://twitter.com/HarryByrdMan44 LA Huey

    I watched the commercial for this show the other day. Apparently, he was trying to fulfill a challenge from his father to ‘try to play baseball’. Well, “We don’t believe you, you need more people.” I’ll watch it anyways because I’m a fan of the ‘Jordan Mythos”

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    HE LOST PASSION FOR THE GAME, HE LOST THE LOVE, IT BECAME LIKE A JOB TO PLAY. HE regained the love, playing for the Barons and became a better teammate at the end. I thought everyone knew that. BOOK IT!!

  • http://google c_cantrell

    ^the seed..
    dude nothing u say ever makes any sense..
    he left the nba to chase after his first love baseball.. he played baseball way before he played hoops.. he always had dreams of playing baseball but was better at basketball so he decided to give up his baseball dreams for the more obvious path to success but as we all know if u love the game with the passion u cant stay away from it.. once he played for awhile he realized baseball would never offer him what basketball could so he came back.. he realized he could not succeed in baseball as he did in basketball so he decided to come back.. figured everyone knew this if they knew anything bout mj at all

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    It is that hard to understand that MJ lost passion and love for the game. Dude I read this many years back, watch the documentary tonight. If MJ speaks I bet you he says this or his friends. He lost the passion and love. Duh baseball was his first love and he wanted to play, but him losing passion for basketball and his dad dieing made it easy to try baseball. He came back, because he realized how much love the baseball players played and he got his love back cat for basketball. BOOK IT!!!

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Apparently dude wanted a break from basketball. He was burned out.
    But, he didn’t want to just lounge around on a beach. Instead, he wanted to try something different, but still challenging.
    Why is that so hard to believe?

  • MikeC.

    Jeez guys. Jordan was forced into retirement because he had to go into hiding. He was going to be charged with multiple counts of homicide for murdering the title dreams of the Blazers, Suns, Knicks and any others unfortunate enough to wander into MJ’s murder spree. This is public knowledge.

  • Exile

    I thought it was because He went off to hunt Chuck Norris. He only returned to Basketball once He realized that the impact of their fight would destroy the world.

  • http://jayemmbee.blogspot.com Clutch Performer

    Cosign MikeC

    but really its the love of the game thing.
    He dominated a sport was getting bored, he always wanted to try baseball, but whebn his father was murder that was gonna be his tribute to his dad. he tried and failed to be a star but prove to be able to play the game, he did say i can accept failure but i cannot accept not trying. although that refers to coming to the wizards
    but after he realize a) he wasnt goin anywhere in baseball b) he missed baseball he came back

    none of that conspiracy hype BS
    seriously would the NBA shunned it greatest dollar maker away just for gambling? someone should ask stern how they did ratings wise when he left and came back, watch Space Jam lol, the begining explains most of it,

  • http://thosefishtacosarethetits.blogspot.com Boston_Blogg3r

    I always thought it had something to do with his father’s murder.

  • Mr. Robinson

    You can’t just suspend the g.o.a.t. You can do that with pete rose.
    you can’t do it to Wayne Gretzky, You can’t do it to Michael.
    it would put the nba out of business.
    in order to save face, he “retires” (gets suspended)for a year and plays baseball.
    Father gets killed and all that jazz.
    Real shady sh1t.

  • sportstalk23

    It would serve ZERO sense for Stern to toss out his cash cow
    Especially when MJ and the Bulls where looking at a 4-peat at the least
    The league was hit hard with MJ loss
    Even more the special showed just how fed up he was
    Just look at the vulture media interrogating MJ just for the AC trip with Pops
    Then he gets murdered clearly that was the final straw
    By the way if Stern would even concieve doing that I can imagine the convo
    Ok MJ you gotta go for awhile and take the 2 billion dollars plus your worth to this league with ya lol

  • newzealanderinlondon

    I have the upper deck Michael Jordan retirement card (mint condition) – if anyone wants to buy it. I also have the whole set if anyone is keen. Holla.