Michael Jeffrey Jordan may have retired 20 years ago, but he continues to inspire greatness today.
For Jazz young star Donovan Mitchell, who is in the middle of a breakout season, Jordan was the inspiration behind his basketball journey, and also the reason for his current jersey number.
Here's what he said on the "Knuckleheads" podcast:
“Everybody wanted to be like Mike, and 23 ran out. You know the jerseys, I couldn’t get it. So how could I go about with this?… I’m gonna wear 45 and then, from there it just took off, and yeah like 45, I can only understand that Chicago and 45 ain’t a famous number,” said Mitchell.
No. 45 doesn’t explode like No. 23 used to. No. 45 is not No. 23. I couldn’t have done that to No. 23.”
Jordan famously wore No. 45 after his first return to the NBA in 1995. After the death of his father, he wanted to wear a new number to signify a new chapter for his life and career. and 45 was the number he wore through High School.
He only wore that number in the NBA for 22 games, however, before eventually returning to 23 the game after Nick Anderson's now-infamous comment: "45 isn’t 23."
It's a moment in history that has largely been forgotten. But in an era with so many 23s, Mitchell decided to don it himself as an ode to the Bulls legend.
So far, Mitch has been living up to its legacy. Through this postseason run, he has been nothing short of exceptional.