Remember that time the Boston Celtics pursued Michael Jordan?
Oh, you don’t?
Well, that’s probably because there’s some debate as to whether it actually happened, although M.L. Carr is adamant he explored the possibility of bringing Jordan to Boston while serving as Celtics general manager before the 1994-95 season.
“As I understand it, (former Chicago Bulls GM) Jerry (Krause) denied having the conversation, which is absolutely not true,” Carr said Monday, according to NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg. “We did have a conversation. I reached out to Jerry, realizing that Michael had left the game. I knew Michael was not gone forever.”
Jordan, drafted third overall by the Bulls in 1984, first “retired” from basketball after the 1992-93 season, in which he guided Chicago to its third consecutive NBA championship. He was just 30 years old, firmly in the prime of his career, but Jordan stepped away to play professional baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization.
Carr clearly wasn’t buying Jordan’s “retirement,” which ultimately ended when MJ returned to the Bulls late in the 1994-95 campaign. As such, Carr claims to have offered the Bulls a first-round draft pick just to speak with Jordan during his time away from the hardwood. Still, Krause apparently didn’t budge.
“I offered Jerry a first-round draft pick and he goes, ‘Well, M.L., Mike is not coming back. He’s retired.’ Well, he is coming back. I think he is. But he denied the fact that I did that, I guess to save face with his owners,” Carr recalled, per Forsberg. ” … I thought, (Jordan) had already done it in that Chicago uniform, if he got a chance to come to Boston, put on the green, what a great thing that would be from a marketing standpoint. He would have made a fortune.”
Carr, a former Celtics role player who knew Jordan from when he was a kid growing up in North Carolina, evidently thought his existing relationship with the NBA superstar and his family could go a long way toward luring him to Boston. But if we’re to believe Carr’s account, the Bulls were unwilling to facilitate a conversation between the sides, even if it meant passing on a first-round pick regardless of whether Jordan signed with the Celtics.
It’s safe to say the Bulls made the right decision, as Jordan led Chicago to three more titles after returning to the NBA. And as for making a fortune? Well, Jordan’s done alright for himself despite never playing in Boston.
Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images