Chicago, IL (March 17, 2020) – Coinciding with the 25th anniversary of the most famous fax ever sent in sports history, NBC Sports Chicago has announced it will air a brand new documentary presentation entitled I’m Back., detailing the announcement process and eventual on-court return of the G.O.A.T., Chicago Bulls/NBA legend MICHAEL JORDAN. This in-depth, half-hour documentary, highlighting Jordan’s decision to return to the NBA, the worldwide significance of his return and why that historic decision a quarter-century ago still matters in 2020 will all be told tomorrow evening, Wednesday, March 18 at 6:30 PM CT, exclusively on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live to authenticated NBC Sports Chicago subscribers at NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive. The 6:30 PM premiere of I’m Back precedes NBC Sports Chicago first Bulls “Classic” game – featuring the Bulls vs. Miami in Round 1/Game 1 the 1996 NBA Playoffs – airing at 7:00 PM. In addition, I’m Back will also air immediately following tomorrow night’s Bulls “Classic” game at 9:30 PM.
Following his 18-month retirement from basketball, I’m Back chronicles the weeks leading up to Jordan’s internationally-celebrated two-word announcement, the timing of his decision to return, the origination and simplicity of the fax itself, his first game back (wearing a #45 jersey), which occurred the very next day against the Indiana Pacers, and much more.
Among the numerous interviews included in NBC Sports Chicago’s Original Production of I’m Back, features candid recollections from the following individuals:
• DAVID FALK – MJ’s former agent
• TONI KUKOC – MJ teammate ’95-‘98
• HORACE GRANT – MJ teammate ’87-‘93
• STEVE KERR – MJ teammate ’95-‘98
• TIM HARDAWAY – 5-time NBA All-Star
• CHRIS MULLIN – 5-time NBA All-Star
• BRIAN MCINTYRE – former NBA Sr VP Basketball Communications
• DOMINIQUE WILKINS – 9-time NBA All-Star
• LEBRON JAMES – 16-time NBA All-Star
• DWYANE WADE – 13-time NBA All-Star
• GLEN RICE – 3-time NBA All-Star
• ROBERT HORRY – 7-time NBA Champion
• BILL SMITH – Bulls Photographer
• MARK GIANGRECO – Sports Director, Anchor, ABC-7
• MARC SILVERMAN – Co-host ‘Waddle & Silvy’, ESPN 1000
• TIM GROVER – MJ’s former personal trainer
• ROD HIGGINS – MJ teammate ’84-’86, longtime friend
I’m Back was produced and edited by NBC Sports Chicago’s Emmy award-winning team of Executive Producer of Original Content Sarah Lauch, Senior Producer of Original Content Ryan McGuffey and Managing Photographer Matt Buckman. Please note the following quotes from the NBC Sports Chicago Original Production of I’m Back, debuting Wednesday, March 18 at 6:30 PM CT on NBC Sports Chicago and NBCSportsChicago.com/WatchLive:
David Falk – Michael Jordan’s former agent on the fax:
“There’s not a PR agency in the country that would’ve written as something as elegant as what Michael wrote. It was elegant and simplistic.”
Mark Giangreco – longtime Chicago sports director/anchor, currently at ABC-7
“It’s the most impactful two words (I’m Back) ever.”
Toni Kukoc – teammate ’95-’98 – on practices at Berto Center the week MJ returned
“Everybody was kind of talking, (whispering), maybe he’s back, maybe he’s not, we don’t know, but it looks like he might be back. And it was time to go practice and once I went to the locker room and I saw about 40-50 pairs of Jordans at his locker, I said to myself, ‘there’s no way he’s just going to practice one practice with the 50 pairs of shoes here.”
LeBron James – reaction to MJ’s return as an 11 year old growing up in Akron, OH
“It was a very joyous moment for my community, myself, my friends. Just having the greatest basketball player ever to come back playing the game. I needed that inspiration growing up in the inner city. It was like I kind of lost a superhero when he retired. Someone that I kind of needed to help me, some way, somehow, even though he didn’t know it.”
Steve Kerr, head coach Golden State Warriors, MJ teammate ’95-’98 – on how MJ’s decision to return impacted him
“For me it completely changed the rest of my life. Playing with Michael Jordan changed the entire course of my career. I was able to play on these championship teams, made a name for myself, was able to get into TV, broadcasting, management and coaching. And the reason that people hired me for these jobs later on is because I had played next to Michael Jordan…….I kind of owe Michael. I owe him everything.”
Marc Silverman – co-host, “Waddle & Silvy” ESPN 1000, Bulls beat reporter in 1995 – on the scene at Market Square Arena, March 19, 1995
“You have the tunnel and this is stuck in my head. I was jostling, trying to get as close to that tunnel as possible, to see that first time that Michael and the Bulls are coming out of that tunnel as a different Bulls organization and now a threat in the NBA. And it was lined with people and hangers on and media, and news, not just sports media, but news people….But it was lined and the buzz was, and I’ve covered three Bulls championships. There’s never been a buzz, compared to that tunnel of Michael Jordan running out of it for his comeback.”
Tim Grover – Michael Jordan’s former trainer on why the decision still resonates 25 years later
“That’s the difference between a legend and an icon. That’s the difference. There’s a lot of legends. There’s only a few icons. You cannot talk about basketball…you know, it’s funny, as time grows, time goes by, the legends and stories even get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger……When you’re an icon, and he is an icon, it’s not going to stop. It’s not going to stop.”
NOTE: Additional air dates/times for NBC Sports Chicago’s I’m Back documentary presentation will be announced on NBCSportsChicago.com and via Twitter @NBCSChicago.
NBC Sports Chicago, a partnership between the Chicago Blackhawks (NHL), Chicago Bulls (NBA), Chicago White Sox (MLB) and the NBC Sports Group, features over 275 live pro games in high definition each year. In addition, NBC Sports Chicago delivers extensive pre/post-game coverage for its core pro team partners, as well as Chicago Bears and Chicago Cubs multi-platform coverage, plus - local sports discussion programs that includes SportsTalk Live, and massive cross-platform coverage provided by the network’s growing digital platform, NBCSportsChicago.com, the “MyTeams by NBC Sports” app, and its variety of fan-focused social media outlets. Fans can follow the network on Twitter via @NBCSChicago.
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