The story has been retold over and over again, but the details of the comeback never get old. After an abrupt retirement in 1993, Michael Jordan returned to the Chicago Bulls in March 19th, 1995 wearing a Bulls jersey with a number that NBA fans probably did not relate to. A few days later, Jordan made his first “comeback” appearance at home, with an insane welcome from the United Center crowd. Jordan would go on to wear the new #45 for the rest of the season, switching back to his old #23 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals series against the Orlando Magic; the NBA fined him $25,000 per game for breaking league rules on top of the $5,000 fine for “non-conforming” shoes that we’ve come to know as the Concord 11s.
Michael wore the number 45 for only a handful of games at the end of the 1994-1995 NBA season, but this number is forever burned into the memories of basketball fans that witnessed MJ’s heyday in the 1990s. The fact is, 45 is a significant number because this was Jordan’s jersey number of baseball and basketball all throughout high school, but was forced to switch it once he started playing in the varsity ranks with his older brother Larry, who also wore 45. Michael admired his older brother’s basketball skills, so he divided 45 by half and rounded up to arrive at the number, and when he later retired in 1993, Michael vowed to never wear it again as it was the last number his father watched him play in.