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

Michael Jordan played 1,072 gamings in his around 15-year NBA career. He invested 1,049 the those contests make the No. 23 identified with greatness. For 22 games in the spring of 1995, the sported the No. 45 upon return from his 14-month retirement come play baseball — an homage to his so late father James, that last observed Jordan beat wearing the No. 23.

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But one game, a Valentine’s day matchup against the Magic in Orlando in 1990, witnessed him don a nameless, No. 12 jersey. Unlike whatever Jordan has done — both in his basketball days and post-playing career — this was no a premeditated, very closely calculated decision.

This was the perfect crime. 

Ex-Bulls forward will Perdue might sense something turn off from the moment he arrived on Orlando Arena because that the game.

“When us walked in the locker room, things were clearly different,” Perdue recalled. “There were 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 was going on, and also we uncovered out the somebody had stolen Michael"s jersey.”

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

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

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

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

But in ~ the time, follow to Perdue, the team no carry specific extra jerseys — only bland replacements come be offered in break-in-case-of-emergency situations.

This certainly qualified for the distinction, and fortunately, the Bulls had actually an extra red height in Jordan’s size. Unfortunately, stitched onto the jersey to be a No. 12 on the front, a No. 12 on the earlier and no name to be found. Even among a famously superstitious creed (NBA athletes), Jordan’s emphasis on ritual stood out, therefore one can only imagine his lasting frustration.

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

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

But no mystical pressures hindered Jordan, individually, in the video 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 attempted in an NBA game. Think he had an edge that night?) through no turnovers. 

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

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

“A couple days later, they discovered out from security that one of their personnel had collection up a plan to gain the jersey, had actually actually gone through one more locker room, climbed over the ceilings, came with a ceiling tile, ordered the jersey, placed it ago in the ceiling," Powell claimed in the video. "Planning for, i guess, a couple of days later to come back and obtain it after thinking no one would figure it out."

Indeed, those triple-locked doors no breached, and apparently, Jordan’s jersey never ever left the locker room. It doesn’t appear the nameless culprit completely got away through the heist, but to this day, that or she continues to be the closest to nabbing game-worn Jordan garb right out indigenous under his nose.

So, perhaps it wasn’t the perfect crime. But the Magic gained the last laugh that night, and we obtained a story that will endure for every time.

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