The Many Numbers of Michael Jordan

Story by Mark Carlisle

Michael Jordan and his older brother Larry both liked No. 45 growing up. When Michael got to his school, Larry had already taken 45, so Michael took 23 instead.

"He had seniority," Jordan told the team of the NBA 2k14 video game; past versions of the game had displayed Jordan on the cover. "He had the option to wear 45, so I just figured 23 was half of 45 – 22-and-a-half. And 23 has just kinda stuck with me the whole time."

Jordan retired from the NBA after the 1992-1993 season to play baseball for the Birmingham Barons, a minor league team in the Chicago White Sox organization, where he wore No. 45.

After little success in baseball, Jordan returned to the Bulls for the 1994-1995 season. However, when Jordan retired, he'd made it clear that it was he wouldn't be wearing 23 any longer because that was the last number his late father had seen him play in. The Bulls retired the number, so that no one else – including Jordan himself – could wear it.

Jordan instead wore 45 in his NBA return, but many fans felt it wasn't quite the same Michael Jordan. So, Jordan switched back to his trademark No. 23 in his 23rd game back from retirement.

Jordan's jersey was stolen from the Bulls' visitor locker room before a game in the Orlando Arena Feb. 14, 1990. The team tried to tried to find a replacement from fans' replica jerseys, but none were a good fit for Jordan – and the options were limited, as the Bulls were on the road.

The team's equipment manager eventually found an emergency extra uniform. The jersey had no name on the back and bore No. 12. So for one night, Jordan wore 12. He did have 49 points and seven rebounds, but the Bulls lost in overtime.

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