“I’m Back.”-Michael Jordan (aka the most famous fax in history)
After Michael Jordan’s hiatus with baseball, the 1994-1995 Bulls were struggling to stay alive in the playoff race in the middle of March. When Scottie and the gang needed him most, Michael faxed two words, letting the world know that he was back. Wearing the No. 45 because number 23 was still retired in the rafters back in Chicago, Jordan wore 45, which was his baseball number, for the time being. After just 10 days of being back in the Association, shaking off the dust and getting back into shape, MJ did one of those “Michael Jordan” things against no team more perfect for the situation than the Bulls decade long rival, the New York Knicks.
Being a professional athlete isn’t easy, it isn’t easy to prepare for or train for. So when a player comes out of retirement in the middle of the season and after 10 days drops 55 on arguable the top team in the league, would you believe me? I swear Spike Lee wasn’t lying in that commercial, IT HAD TO BE THE SHOES. Games like this are why Michael Jordan is the greatest of all time. Pick any player in history to try to do this after they retire and no way could they. But this was Madison Square Garden, where the lights shine bright and the stars shine brighter. This was the Mecca of Basketball, New York City, the stage was set and only Michael could give the fans in New York the show that the ticket was worth.
John Starks was a beloved journey man in New York who was basically bagging groceries one week, to playing shooting guard at a high level for the New York Knicks the next. Everyone loves a good ‘Rags to Riches’ story. Especially Michael. It was already a long-standing rivalry between the two and after this game, it pushed Starks to complete insanity and frustration trying to guard Mike. On that night wearing a fresh pair of his newly released Jay’s and wearing No. 45, Jordan dropped 55 a “double nickel” on Starks, Ewing and the Knicks. Shooting 21-37 MJ hit a 16 footer over Starks that simply left him in complete frustration with a minute left. With seconds remaining in still a close game, Michael hit Center Bill Wennington in stride for the game-winning jam with 3 seconds left. Completely frustrated, Starks received the inbound pass and kicked the ball across the court as time expired, with no attempt at a game winning/tying shot. The Bulls won 113-111. Michael’s return to New York gave TNT its highest NBA regular season TV ratings ever. The rating on Mikes performance? A perfect 10. As for Starks, another man on the list who attempted but never succeeded in guarding MJ.