- The 1995 Game 1 between Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic
- Jordan innocently wore No. 45 from No. 23 as a consolation for a bad series opener
- NBA pundits claim that this is the biggest collective non-fighting fine in modern history
The 1995 Game 1 between Chicago Bulls and Orlando Magic in the semi-finals of the Eastern Conference is hard for Michael Jordan to forget because a jersey number blunder cost his team a fine.
Jordan innocently wore No. 45 from No. 23 as a consolation for a bad series opener and it cost the Bulls a huge amount.
The aftermath was a huge fine on the club for allowing Jordan to wear a different jersey during playoffs. A part of this huge fine was because the club did not notify anyone as required that Jordan would change his jersey number.
NBA pundits claim that this is the biggest collective non-fighting fine in modern history.
“The Bulls, who are solely responsible for paying the fine, were originally fined $25,000 after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals between the Bulls and Orlando Magic for failing to notify the league that Jordan would be switching from No. 45 to 23,” Chicago Tribune indicates.
Ironically, the Bulls’ loss in the second round spared them from paying a higher fine because the new $100,000 fine was divided into four instalments of $25,000 each for the games in which Jordan wore his original 23.
Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway helped the top-seeded Orlando Magic win Game 1 94-91. After 40 minutes of play, Jordan had 19 points, five rebounds, three assists, and one steal.
He was 8-22 and made two expensive mistakes in the final 10 seconds. John Ligmanowski, who was the Bulls’ equipment manager at the time, persuaded Jordan to switch back to his original jersey number.
On March 19, 1995, Jordan made his NBA comeback against the Indiana Pacers while wearing No. 45. Before switching to No. 23 in Game 2 of the playoff series, he played 22 games in it.
Returning to the number that many NBA fans identify him with appeared to have improved his game. He recorded 38 points, seven rebounds, four blocks, four thefts, and three assists in subsequent games.
Jordan made 17 of 30 shots from the field, and he appeared to be the player who guided the Chicago Bulls to a championship.
The Bulls, however, couldn’t advance to the NBA Finals again despite Jordan’s on-court fortunes. Orlando Magic eliminated them in six games and it was the last team to defeat Jordan in a playoff series.
This loss inspired Chicago Bulls the following season. The Bulls finished the next season with a 72-10 record thanks in large part to the crucial arrival of Dennis Rodman.
In addition to winning two more championships over the following two years, they defeated the Seattle SuperSonics in six games.
To add to Jordan’s impressive résumé, the Bulls defeated the Utah Jazz in 1996 and 1997.
Jordan won three straight NBA Finals MVPs after 1995 and finished his career with a 6-0 record in the championship round. Notably, he stuck to No. 23 even when he unretired for the second time to play for the Washington Wizards.