Why Did Michael Jordan Wear 45?

Elmira | 02 - 10 - 2020
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The six-time NBA champion explained the reason in his autobiography For the Love of the Game that he wore the Michael Jordan 45 jersey during high school till his junior year. During that time, Jordan played for the varsity team where his brother Larry also wore the same number.

Jordan described why he wore No. 45 when he came back in the spring of 1995 in Episode 8 of “The Last Dance.” Jordan said, “I didn’t want to wear 23 because I knew my father wasn’t there to watch me, and I felt it was a new beginning and 45 was my first number when I was playing in high school.”

Michael Jordan is synonymous with the two-digit number 23. He created one of the most popular two-digit numbers in all of sports including basketball. Whenever fans see number 23, it reminds them of Jordan’ stamp and how he is an inspiration to their career and lives. But Jordan famously wore No. 45 when he returned from his first retirement in 1995.

How Many Games Did Jordan Wear 45?
  • A. 22
  • B. 34
  • C. 30
  • D. 25

The Story of Michael Jordan Number 45

So why did MJ wear 45? It all started when young Michael and his older brother Larry started playing competitive one-on-one basketball. Larry was 11 months older than Jordan. Both Michael and Larry loved the number 45, put on this number in their respective jerseys. Both went to Emsley A. Laney High School in North Carolina. When Michael was a sophomore, he started playing for the varsity basketball team. However, he was facing problems with his height. He was just 5-foot-11 and was too short to be a player for the team.

Michael Jordan Baseball Number Changed from 45 to 23

Contrastingly, Larry made it to the 15-man roster and picked No. 45 as his jersey number. Michael joined the junior varsity team, and he also chose to wear 45.

Later, Michael grew 4 inches and finally made it to the varsity team. Since Larry was wearing No. 45, Jordan got an idea for his jersey number. What he did was, divided 45 by two and rounded up 22.5 to 23. Hence he chose to wear 23 in his last two years in Laney High and for three years in the University of North Carolina and ultimately his first 10 years in the NBA. He wore number 45 for only 22 games. 

 The Bulls were defeated in Game 1 in Orlando in the Eastern Conference semifinals where Jordan promised to give two turnovers in the final minute of a close game. After that Jordan chose No. 23 on for Game 2, and the Bulls won in Orlando. He said “I just felt like 45 wasn’t natural,” Michael said. “I wanted to go back with the feeling I had with 23.”

Michael announced his first retirement in October 1993 after a historic three-peat run with the Chicago Bulls. He stated that after the tragic death of his father in July of the same year, he completely lost his desire to play basketball. The Bulls organization approved the retirement of Jordan number 23 one month after his retirement announcement.

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