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Ever wonder why Michael Jordan once had to stay a nameless, No. 12 jersey?

Michael Jordan played 1,072 gamings in his about 15-year NBA career. He invested 1,049 that those contests make the No. 23 synonymous with greatness. For 22 gamings in the feather of 1995, that sported the No. 45 upon returning from his 14-month retirement to play baseball — one homage to his so late father James, who last saw Jordan pat wearing the No. 23.

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But one game, a Valentine’s work matchup versus the Magic in Orlando in 1990, experienced him don a nameless, No. 12 jersey. Unlike everything Jordan has actually done — both in his basketball days and also post-playing career — this was not a premeditated, closely calculated decision.

This was the perfect crime. 

Ex-Bulls forward will certainly Perdue can sense something turn off from the minute he arrived at Orlando Arena for the game.

“When we walked in the locker room, points were obviously different,” Perdue recalled. “There to be police there, we had actually a lot much more security for part reason. And also guys to be uptight. Things were different. 

“And we had actually to asking what to be going on, and we found out the somebody had actually stolen Michael"s jersey.”

RELATED: Why Michael Jordan wore No. 45 out of retirement and also why that went ago to No. 23

In a video recently posted by the Magic’s main Twitter account, director of Team to work Rodney “Sid” Powell corroborated that the theft took location sometime between the Bulls’ shootaround, and also them showing up at the arena.

Another thing all next agree on: The locker room to be boarded up. Perdue recalled the doors gift triple-locked. Powell said the team locked, dead-bolted and also padlocked the doors shut. 

Still, the jersey meandered away, leaving the Bulls in one unenviable predicament. Together Powell psychic it, Jordan was “a tiny frustrated and also not happy” come be compelled out the his trademark No. 23, which he had actually worn for every video game of his college and NBA career. Surely, that’s putting it mildly.

But at the time, according to Perdue, the team didn’t carry certain extra jerseys — just bland replacements to be provided in break-in-case-of-emergency situations.

This certainly qualified for that distinction, and also fortunately, the Bulls had actually an extra red height in Jordan’s size. Unfortunately, stitched onto the jersey was a No. 12 ~ above the front, a No. 12 on the ago and no surname to be found. Even amongst a famously superstitious creed (NBA athletes), Jordan’s focus on routine stood out, so one can only imagine his lasting frustration.

The fiasco culminated in a pregame intro historical in that wonkiness. 

“6-6, from north Carolina… No. 12, Michael Jordan.”

But no mystical pressures hindered Jordan, individually, in the game itself. Clad in foreign stripes, he play 47 minutes against the Magic and scored 49 points on 21-for-43 shooting (the second-most field goal do the efforts he ever before attempted in an NBA game. Think he had actually an edge the night?) v no turnovers. 

The Bulls, though, fell to lowly Orlando (1990 to be the Magic’s first year together an NBA franchise and also it entered the contest 14-33 ~ above the season) 135-129. Beginning on Feb. 16, the Bulls rattled turn off a nine-game win streak — all with Jordan wearing No. 23.

That No. 23, that course, no the exact same jersey that was stolen in Orlando. In fact, till Powell’s previously mentioned public account that events, the perpetrator’s identity had actually been shrouded in mystery. Through the passage of time, it appears we’re inching closer come the truth.

“A pair days later, they uncovered out from security that one of their personnel had set up a plan to obtain the jersey, had actually actually unable to do through an additional locker room, climbed over the ceilings, came with a ceiling tile, ordered the jersey, put it earlier in the ceiling," Powell claimed in the video. "Planning for, ns guess, a few days later to come earlier and get it after reasoning no one would figure it out."

Indeed, those triple-locked doors no breached, and apparently, Jordan’s jersey never ever left the locker room. The doesn’t show up the nameless culprit completely got away through the heist, but to this day, he or she stays the closest to nabbing game-worn Jordan garb appropriate out indigenous under his nose.

So, maybe it no the perfect crime. Yet the Magic gained the critical laugh that night, and also we obtained a story that will certainly endure for every time.

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