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"Jordan Rides The Bus" Debuts on ESPN

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Aug 23, 2010 2:20PM

In 1993, Michael Jordan stunned the world when he walked away from basketball at the height of his popularity. He had just won his third straight title with the Bulls and was the most famous person on earth following the Dream Team's triumphant gold medal run at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Even more stunning was his retirement endeavor. MJ gave up the charter planes and ritzy hotels of the NBA lifestyle for the long bus rides and small town accommodations known all too well to minor league baseball players. Jordan joined the Birmingham Barons, the White Sox Double A minor league affiliate, to give his baseball dreams a go. In his one season, Jordan appeared in 127 games and batted .202 with 3 home runs, 51 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in 436 at-bats -- not exactly major league material.

What exactly motivated Jordan to walk away from basketball and decide to pick up a glove? Did he feel he'd accomplished all he could playing basketball? How did his father's murder impact his decision? On Tuesday, ESPN's 30 For 30 documentary series debuts "Jordan Rides the Bus" in which director Ron Shelton tries to answer the question many local sports fan have wanted know about this interlude in MJ's basketball dominance, while revisiting Jordan's less than memorable minor league baseball career. (Tuesday, August 24 at 8 p.m. on ESPN)