DAR Sports: What If Jordan Never Retired In 1993?

Introduction By @TrueGodImmortal
-One of the biggest questions asked in basketball has to be "what if Michael Jordan never retired back in 1993?" and it's a great question. Jordan was on top of his game so to speak, but you could notice a change of sorts in his game as the 1993 season wore on. Already feeling somewhat fatigued and mentally drained, Jordan dug deep to push his Bulls to the Finals yet again, and to their third straight championship. However, what if he returned the next season? Fueled by a desire to win after losing his father, what if Jordan came out and had a season for the ages? What would have occurred for Jordan and the Bulls had he not retired? Today, we look at the scenarios and give our opinion on what we think would have happened. Let's get right into it.

This has been a frequently asked question. What if Michael Jordan never retired in 1993? Jordan retired after the tragic murder of his father, as well as his loss for the love of the game, which was due from being exhausted from the 92 Dream Team run. If Jordan had never left the game in 1993, he would’ve burned out a lot quicker due to the exhaustion and likely retire sooner. Not saying his skills would’ve diminished, but I think mentally he wouldn’t have the same passion for the game. Now would the Bulls win the title if he hadn’t missed the 93-94 season?
Short answer here is no. People forget how tough that New York Knicks team was. They were physical and very skilled, powered by Patrick Ewing at the 5 spot. If they would have won that series then they would face the Pacers, which would be a series they would’ve won. That leaves the Finals with Houston. I don’t see a burned out Jordan leading them to a win in that series. Rockets still would have won the series in 6 or 7 games. That means Jordan and the Bulls franchise would never have a perfect NBA Finals record (6-1).

The next year, the Bulls being bounced by a young upcoming Orlando team with Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal likely would’ve been put off till the Eastern Conference Finals. That Orlando team that season was clearly better and again a burned out Jordan wouldn’t have helped the Bulls any. Michael Jordan walking away from the game did a lot more for him mentally than physically. If he didn’t walk away from the game in 93, then we would’ve seen Jordan and the Bulls hit another wall. We probably would’ve saw Jordan walk away from the game after the 93-94 season or 94-95 season. It could’ve completely changed the legacy of Michael Jordan and that Chicago Bulls team itself.

In sports we often argue over "what if" scenarios that will never actually occur. "What if Wilt Chamberlain played in the 90s" or "What if Grant Hill never got injured". It is not often that we compare a player to his own career in his own era like we do with Michael Jordan's 1st retirement. Fans often speculate how things would have been different if MJ never hung up his shorts for a season to go play baseball like his recently deceased father had always wanted.
One thing to remember is that Jordan did return some time into the 94-95 season only to be eliminated by Shaq and the Orlando Magic, who would go onto lose vs Houston in the Finals. Many fans say Jordan would have won that series had he not been rusty from his time off. As for me personally, I think that Jordan would have won at least one of those seasons away, but probably faltered some time down the line. I'd have to guess he'd finish his career with one extra ring for a total of 7. It's also important to speculate on the moves the Bulls make if Jordan never leaves. Does Rodman get picked up? Does Jerry Krause try to break up the team sooner? These are things we will never know, but it's always fun to guess.

On October 6th, 1993, Michael Jordan announced his shocking retirement. The entire NBA & fans were all saying "what the fuck", as the guy was literally the face of basketball, coming off a 3 peat dynasty and on top of the WORLD. So why retire? Why?

Today, I discuss what would've happened had he not done that. Simple. Very easy. 2 more championships. They could've tied the Celtics record for 8 straight NBA championships honestly. They were good enough to do so. Maybe a 9 peat to break the record had he played one more year in 1999 before his 2nd retirement.


*Bulls Win 4th Championship In 1994 Over the Houston Rockets

-This is the most likely scenario in my mind. While the Bulls showed signs of slowing down during the 1992-1993 season, I think it's almost a certainty that they would have regrouped and came back refreshed during the 1993-1994 season. Without Jordan, the Bulls ended up as a playoff team anyway, as a 3rd seed nonetheless with a 55-27 record and could have defeated the Knicks in the playoffs soundly once again if Jordan was on the team. Why am I so certain in this particular scenario? Let's look at the facts here.

With Kukoc on the team and coming off the bench, Pete Myers at the starting 2 spot, and  the rest of the team contributing in assigned roles, this team was built around Pippen, who would average 22.0 PPG, finish third in the MVP voting, and be crowned as All Star MVP that year. Imagine this team with Jordan at the helm. Instead of a 55-27 record, I predict a 64-18 record and the no. 1 seed in the East likely. Jordan would brush off any fatigue and the rest of the team would play as motivated as possible. This would lead the Bulls to the Finals and they would have defeated the Knicks in 6 games in the Semifinals, instead of the 7 game loss they took in reality. The Pacers would have been an easy victory so to speak, as the Bulls would have won in 5 games I believe. The Rockets would not be able to stop Jordan this go round and the Bulls would win their 4th straight title.

*Bulls Win Championship In 1994-1995 Season Also

-The Bulls could have won 8 straight championships. I believe this would be possible (but maybe not 100% realistic). While the Rockets were a great team, I believe that if this was a rematch of the 1994 Finals that we would have seen the Rockets lose in a 6 game battle. The Bulls in the Finals would have likely been too much for the Rockets to overcome, although Jordan has said he's glad he never had to deal with the Rockets or Hakeem in the Finals, the defense of the Bulls might have presented a challenge for Houston and led the Bulls to the promised land. The one factor that remains to be seen is how the Magic would have dealt with a fully functioning and focused Bulls team in the playoffs. The Bulls were eliminated in the Semifinals in 1995, but if they could have gotten beyond the Magic, which was likely, they would have beat the Pacers in the Conference Finals in 6 games as well. I'd like to think this scenario doesn't see Horace Grant deflect to the Magic after the 4th straight title, clearing the path for the Bulls even more to win title no. 5.

*Bulls Lose In The 1995 Finals
-I'm not so sure Jordan would have had a perfect record in the Finals if he played straight through the years and if he did lose a Finals series, 1995 would be the year. Fatigue. Horace Grant would have left for greener pastures and the Magic might have still lost to the Bulls in a hard fought 7 game series in the Semifinals. Pippen would have been fatigued. Jordan. The entire team. 4 straight championships would have done that, and the loss of Horace Grant might have a big effect if the Bulls managed to make it out the tough East and actually get back to the Finals. Though the road to the Finals in 1995 wasn't easy for the Rockets, the Rockets would be pushed to the limit by Jordan and the Bulls in a rematch, only to prevail this time in a 7 game series. I couldn't see the Rockets winning the Finals against the Bulls in any scenario than going 7 games.

*Bulls Don't Make The 1995 Finals
-Basically, the fatigue begins to wear on Jordan and the team, and they fall in 7 games this time (instead of 6) to the Magic as they did in reality. Not much else to say in this one, the Bulls reign would have taken a slight hit and decline if this was the case. I say if the Bulls didn't make the 1995 Finals, the only other team in the East who would is the Magic. Not the Knicks. Not the Pacers. Only the Magic.

*Jordan Retires After 1994 Season
-Let's say the Bulls end up winning the 1994 Finals. 4 in a row. An amazing feat. Jordan has won 4 straight titles and needs a break from the fatigue and to find more passion. I say Jordan retires after the two Jerrys in the Chicago front office don't attempt to bring Horace Grant back. He might come back the following season for the 1995-1996 season or the 1996-1997 season, and I still believe if he did, they would have another 3 championships and he would have retired the 2nd time in 1999 (if he returned in 1996-1997 instead of 1995).

Outro By @TrueGodImmortal
-The possible scenarios are truly endless. One thing is for certain: Jordan likely preserved his legacy and flawless Finals record by walking away when he felt tired and fatigued with the game of basketball. Would it have been nice to have that epic Finals clash of Jordan, Pippen, and Grant against Drexler, Hakeem, and Horry? Sure. The Basketball Gods just decided that wasn't the right path. Regardless, if Jordan hadn't retired, the league and the business would have been much different I suspect. The beauty of these "what if" scenarios is that we'll wonder about this forever. What do you think would have happened if Jordan didn't retire in 93? Post your comments below.



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