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Today in White Sox History: March 14

Michael Jordan absorbs a low blow from Sports Illustrated.

1994

Sports Illustrated took issue with former NBA superstar Michael Jordan and his attempt to play Major League Baseball.

Jordan was on the cover of the magazine again — but in a far different light. The headline read, “Bag It Michael! Jordan and the White Sox are Embarrassing Baseball.”

From that day on, Jordan, who was always very cooperative with Sports Illustrated, would never speak to the publication again. His biggest objection to the story was that they never talked with him as part of it.

During the 2020 documentary “The Last Dance” the writer of the story, Steve Wulf, said that after Jordan showed some potential and a sincere desire to play the game, he wrote another piece apologizing — but the magazine never published it.

That article would have been appropriate to publish. While Jordan struggled at Double-A with a .202/.290/.266 slash, he made strides in the Arizona Fall League, upping his average to .252 and earning praise from scouts. As Jordan was penciled in for Triple-A Nashville in 1995, the biggest knock on MJ was that, at 32, he was having to make up for too much lost time away from baseball.

In March 1995, a White Sox demand that Jordan cross the picket line to participate in replacement games during the MLBPA strike forced his retirement from baseball and return to the NBA.