Chicago Bulls

Sports Uncovered: Inside Michael Jordan's two-word fax that altered NBA history

Sports Uncovered: Inside Michael Jordan's two-word fax that altered NBA history

"I'm back."

On March 18, 1995, Michael Jordan sent those words via fax to announce his return to the NBA after his stunning retirement in 1993.

But there's much more to the story of Jordan's comeback than a two-word fax.

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In the debut episode of NBC Sports' "Sports Uncovered" podcast series, NBC Sports Chicago will take fans behind the scenes to tell some never-before-heard stories about Jordan returning to the Bulls in 1995.

One example: Jordan's comeback actually didn't start in Chicago. The star forward secretly worked out with the Golden State Warriors over a span of two to three days to test whether he was ready to return after a year away from the game.

The short answer: Yes.

"We knew he was coming back then," former Warriors star Tim Hardaway said on the podcast. "He just took over our practice. He got five guys (who weren't) playing that much, and he said, 'Us seven will play you all’s seven in a scrimmage,' and it was like he never left."

Those workouts are only the beginning of the story. Through interviews with Jordan's agent, David Falk, former teammates Steve Kerr and Toni Kukoc and many more NBA stars, "Sports Uncovered" reveals the full narrative behind Jordan's NBA-altering return to Chicago.

The episode drops Thursday, May 28, and you can listen by subscribing to "Sports Uncovered" for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

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How David Andrews can relate to Michael Jordan after watching 'The Last Dance'

How David Andrews can relate to Michael Jordan after watching 'The Last Dance'

Like millions of Americans, David Andrews was transfixed by ESPN's "The Last Dance," its documentary series on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Like very few Americans, the New England Patriots center actually can empathize with what Jordan and the 1990s Bulls went through.

Andrews has been with New England for two of its six Super Bowl championships, so he knows how hard it is to not only win a title but come back the next year and sustain that success.

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So, when Jordan admitted in "The Last Dance" that one of his primary emotions after winning a championship was relief, it struck a chord with Andrews.

"After championships, it's tough. Like, it's so draining," Andrews said in a recent chat with NBC Sports Boston's "The Camera Guys."

"They talked about the relief part of it -- (Jordan) was like, 'It was kind of like a sigh of relief' -- and I think that win, lose or draw, there's a sigh of relief at the end of the season, because you've been in it (and) you're coming up for fresh air a little bit."

Jordan's Bulls won three straight championships on two separate occasions, a remarkable accomplishment considering the Patriots only repeated as champs once (2003 and 2004) under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

New England had already won four Super Bowl titles when Andrews arrived in 2015, though, and he now sees a parallel between Jordan's Bulls and the Patriots team he joined as a rookie.

"You see just the leadership qualities that (Jordan) had and the drive that he had," Andrews said. "Being a part of the Patriots and such a great franchise, that's something you learn coming in very quickly.

"As a younger player watching older players, guys like (Devin) McCourty, Julian (Edelman), Matthew Slater -- or for me, (offensive linemen) Nate Solder (and) Sebastian Vollmer -- watching those guys go day-in and day-out, how they competed, how they attacked it and their process, it really shows you why the teams like that have success."

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Andrews obviously saw shades of Jordan in Brady, too, especially after Jordan delivered a line in "The Last Dance" defending his tough love of teammate Scotty Burrell.

"I think Mike even talked about it: 'When the pressure's on, when it's tough out there, do I know I can count on you?' " Andrews said. 

"I think that's something I've noticed a lot of our great leaders do. It's not just them, but you building that trust in them and knowing that I'm not going to snap the ball wrong or whatever it may be.' "

The Patriots no longer have their "Jordan" after Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in free agency. But Andrews is set to return in 2020 after missing the 2019 season due to blood clots and hopes to continue New England's tradition of success.

Check out Andrews' full chat with "The Camera Guys" on YouTube below:

 

Celtics At Home: Danny Ainge has a great Michael Jordan-Dennis Rodman story

Celtics At Home: Danny Ainge has a great Michael Jordan-Dennis Rodman story

Being Michael Jordan's golf buddy has its perks. Among them: You accumulate some awesome stories.

We know that Danny Ainge used to golf with the Bulls legend, and in episode two of NBC Sports Boston's "Celtics at Home," the Celtics president of basketball operations revealed that Jordan actually tried to play golf with him during an off day while Chicago was in the NBA Finals.

"When they were playing in the Finals against the Jazz, I was in Utah," Ainge told host Brian Scalabrine and Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "Michael called me and said, 'Hey, can you set up a tee time for tomorrow?' This was during the Finals."

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Ainge then explained his hilarious back-and-forth with Jordan that involved Bulls star (and notorious wild card) Dennis Rodman.

I said, 'Yeah, what time is your practice?' And (Jordan) said, 'Well, that's the deal. If I can make sure I keep Dennis in town and keep him from going to Las Vegas on the off night, then we won't have practice.'

That's Phil (Jackson)'s coaching strategy there, like, 'We don't have to have practice if Mike and Scottie can keep Dennis from going to Las Vegas on an off day.' 

As viewers saw in ESPN's "The Last Dance," keeping Rodman in check was easier said than done. And Ainge suggested Jordan may have failed in his task -- because they never played that golf match.

"He never called me back, so maybe they couldn't keep Dennis in town," Ainge added with a laugh.

The Bulls defeated the Jazz in both the 1997 and 1998 NBA Finals, so whatever Rodman did during his off-night, it didn't cost the team too much.

Check out the full episode of Celtics at Home below: