Michael Jordan & His History Of Odd Jersey Numbers in Orlando

Published on January 14th, 2012 by Astramskas, David | 16,443 views

This photo was taken by international pro baller Ramon Clemente, who stumbled across this piece of art in a candy store in Israel. The only excuse I could think of is maybe the designers over there were confusing Jordan and Magic Johnson. I mean, Jordan was known as Magic Jordan in high school but I’m pretty sure they didn’t know that. Or maybe, this is just another example of another country making an unlicensed product and screwing up the name. I should know, my Mom once came back from Vietnam with an Adidas bag that said “Adidas Eqipment” on the side.


Michael Jordan had a pretty shitty Valentines day in 1990. Before the February game with the Orlando Magic, someone actually had the balls to steal his jersey a couple of hours before the game. The heist had Jordan seeing red and the arena security in a panic; they even sealed off the building and searched departing employees. Security was so desperate to find the jersey, they even took one from a kid in the crowd and checked with Jordan to see if it was his. No surprise, it wasn’t.

Since the NBA wasn’t willing to delay the game until the jersey was found, he had to wear a replacement. They gave him a nameless Bulls jersey with the #12 on it; the last player to wear that jersey was some guy named Dominic Pressley. Wearing Pressley’s number didn’t seem to bother MJ too much since he scored a game-high 49 points. After the game, which was won by the Magic in OT, he reportedly said he would not sign autographs in Orlando again.

Three years later, Jordan — wearing a 23 on his back — punished the Magic with 64 points. But once again, the Magic had the Bulls number and came away with another OT victory. A rookie Shaq had 29 points and 24 boards for Orlando.


When Jordan came back from his first retirement (or forced vacation if you believe that conspiracy theory) in 1995, he wore #45 because his #23 was retired and 45 was his baseball number.  He only wore it for 22 games — 17 regular season and 5 playoff games — because after a frustrating performance in Game 1 against Orlando (Jordan probably really hates this city) in the playoffs, he blamed the jersey and said, “No. 45 is not No. 23. I couldn’t have done that to No. 23.”

So like Superman, and against David Stern’s wishes, he pulled out the #23 jersey, played a little better, won a game and after a couple more games wearing 23….he was going home and the Magic were advancing.

Jordan did get the last laugh. He came back with a vengeance the following year, swept the Orlando Magic in the playoffs and won the first of three more NBA championships.


Reference: The Truth Sports



About the Author

David Astramskas,

Aka VincentDa & RedApples fka Expiredpineapples. My alter-ego is a digital-marketing guy in Houston. Won editing awards & created obsolete flash websites that have been featured in mags like Sports Illustrated. Studied film & women at FSU during the golden age of hip-hop. Collects records, laserdiscs, sports memorabilia & toys. Father of 2 daughters that are more athletic and popular on YouTube.

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