Chicago Bulls

This Date in NBA History (March 19): Michael Jordan returns from first retirement in 1995 and more

On March 19th, 1995, Michael Jordan returned from his 17-month retirement in the Chicago Bulls' road game against the Indiana Pacers. It was his first NBA game since Game 6 of the 1993 NBA Finals, against Charles Barkley and the Phoenix Suns, when he led the Bulls to their third straight championship.

At the Market Square Arena in Indiana, Jordan finished with 19 points (7-2of-8 FG; 0-of-4 3P), six rebounds, six assists, and three steals in a 103-96 overtime loss.

He wore the No. 45 since his previous No. 23 was retired following his retirement in 1993.

MORE: What if MJ never faxed - "I'm back"

Nationally televised, the game, watched by approximately 35 million people, is still the most-watched game in NBA history.

Three games later, Jordan put his stamp on the league by dropping 55 points (then an NBA record for most points scored at the MSG) against the New York Knicks at the Madison Square Garden.

Other notable events on March 19th

  • In 1969, at the 23rd annual NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks picked Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) with the first pick after they won the coin flip against the Phoenix Suns. The Suns, who called 'heads', picked Neal Walk with the second overall pick.
  • In 1972, the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 162-99, the third-largest margin of victory in NBA history.
  • In 1997, Utah Jazz's John Stockton became the first player in NBA history to record 2,500 career steals.

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