On the eve of Michael Jordan’s first return from retirement in 1995, he generated a crazy amount of speculation. Jordan had hinted a return with just two words, “I’m back.” This led to a major increase in stock prices for the companies that were associated with the Chicago Bulls legend. According to Roland Lazenby’s Michael Jordan: The Life, MJ’s return caused a financial uptick of $2,000,000,000 for the companies that he represented.
Jordan’s shocking retirement from the NBA in October 1993 came just three months after his father’s unfortunate death. He spent two years away from basketball, during which time he signed a Minor League contract with the Chicago White Sox. He eventually returned to the Bulls to help them win another hat trick of titles.
Michael Jordan was accused of toying with the public upon return from retirement
MJ’s two-word announcement led to the Bulls’ game with Indiana Pacers becoming a worldwide event. The decision to retire two years ago had caused upheaval among NBA fans.
However, his return was an even bigger event, for obvious reasons. Jordan’s announcement got him the kind of attention that even his agent David Falk was happy with.
It also led to an increase in stock prices of around $2 billion. This led to suggestions that he was manipulating the market, according to Lazenby’s book:
“After about a week, the collective impatience began to mushroom, with some callers on Chicago’s sports radio talk shows claiming that Jordan was toying with the public, which might have been true. David Falk, who noticed everything, savored the conditions. His client was generating the kind of coverage that couldn’t be bought. USA Today reported that the stock value of those companies that employed Jordan as a spokesman had zoomed up $2 billion on the various stock exchanges in recent days, leading to further suggestion that Jordan was engaged in some kind of financial manipulation.”
Of course, not only did MJ return to the Bulls, the move proved to be a huge success. He won another three Finals MVPs and led his team to a 2nd 3-peat.
Jordan wanted $300,000,000 to return to the NBA
MJ’s decision to leave the NBA was in part related to his father’s death. Jordan had been regarded as one of the best talents of all time right from the start of his career.
This meant that the media always asked him questions about a potential return during his time out. Once, when asked how much money it might take for him to be convinced to return, MJ had a simple response.
He claimed that he did not play the game for the money, something which was evident with his approach every single day. However, MJ also added that if he did, it would take a contract of around $300,000,000 to convince him to return.