As a sports fan, how can you not love ESPN’s 30 for 30 series of documentaries? They have been entertaining and enlightening.
I was especially intrigued by “Jordan Rides the Bus” which aired last night. I’ve always been fascinated in my mind by the idea that the greatest athlete in the world would just quit his sport in his prime.
The film (directed by Ron Shelton) certainly shed some light on this historic sports moment.
When everything is considered in context the decision is not as crazy as it appears when you look at the decision itself.
Jordan had done everything he could do in the NBA and absolutely poured all of himself into those first three title runs. He was the star of stars in the world and he was understandably exhausted.
A few months after that his father was murdered. The type of thing you don’t just move on from. That messes with your head, heart and emotions.
With that weighing extremely heavily on him and another NBA season approaching, where teams would be coming at the Bulls even harder, Jordan probably thought, “I don’t have enough in the tank mentally to gear up for another run.” He was spent and he needed to get away.
I used to think, “My goodness, the Bulls could have won 8 championships in a row if he didn’t do this!” But looking at this documentary makes me wonder how things would have played out if Jordan kept grinding out seasons with the Bulls.
The film led you to believe Jordan was rejuvenated by his experience in AA. He gained perspective on what he had in his basketball career, and how much he had to work to get there.
It seems likely that his journey through the minor leagues fueled him for his next three championships with the Bulls.
I highly recommend the film.