The Last Dance has been providing NBA fans with the opportunity to reminisce about Michael Jordan's last season with the Chicago Bulls and his pursuit of a sixth title. Now, however, the upcoming episodes will be showing a different portion of his career. Jordan's time in Minor League Baseball will be taking center stage.
ESPN released a trailer on Tuesday that showed the NBA star dressed in a Chicago White Sox uniform. Brief interview clips were shown with Jordan's personal trainer, Tim Grover, and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. According to the teaser, Grover warned his client that conducting workouts to make him a better outfielder would be "detrimental" to his basketball career. Jordan didn't care due to being "all in" on baseball.
"Baseball. I'm all-in."May 5, 2020
Jordan originally left the Bulls in 1993 and secretly informed Reisndorf that he would be switching sports. The reason for this change has long been debated, with people claiming that it was an unofficial suspension for his gambling. However, the prevailing wisdom is that Jordan opted for baseball as a new challenge and a "welcome" distraction from his fame and his father's murder.
During his time in the minor leagues, Jordan played for the Birmingham Barons. He hit .202, struck out 114 times and committed 11 errors during his first summer with the team. He also stole 30 bases and drove in 51 runs. Jordan then improved his batting average to .252 in the Arizona Fall League.
"He's a great athlete in basketball," longtime Sox athletic trainer Herm Schneider said, per MLB. "When it came to baseball, he was a little bit like a duck out of water. He loved baseball, but he didn't necessarily have that body awareness that you need. So we had to teach him."
There was a belief among those associated with the White Sox that Jordan would continue improving and ultimately earn a spot in the Majors. This did not come to pass due to the 1994 strike. Jordan reported for spring training but reportedly vowed to not cross the picket lines during the labor dispute between owners and the players union.
Replacement players were ultimately brought in to keep baseball going, bringing Jordan's minor league career to an unceremonious end. He returned to the NBA and was back in the starting lineup in less than a month. Rejoining the Bulls also set the stage for the final three NBA titles of Jordan's career.