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Michael Jordan On Claim That He Was Forced To Retire Due To Gambling: “That's Not True… I Needed A Break"

(via CNBC.com)

(via CNBC.com)

Michael Jordan was at the height of his powers when he retired in 1993. After coming off a season in which he won his third-straight Championship (and in which he also averaged over 32 points per game), nobody was expecting him to walk away from basketball's biggest stage -- especially to go and play baseball.

Rumors quickly emerged that MJ retired not by choice, but because it was his punishment by the league for gambling. While it is true that he had a knack for betting and gambling, Jordan himself denied it was the reason for his departure in the most recent episode of "The Last Dance."

“I didn’t retire because someone kicked me out or they suspended me for a year and a half,” Michael Jordan said.

“That is not true… I needed a break, my father just passed. And I retired with the notion that I wasn’t going to come back.”

Of course, his father was tragically murdered shortly after the Bulls defeated the Phoenix in the 1993 NBA Finals. It obviously hit him hard, and he needed time to recover. In those circumstances, who wouldn't?

So it appears that Jordan's break was nothing more than him taking some time to meditate and heal in light of a very personal and hard-hitting tragedy.

Still, it likely won't stop the skeptics from proclaiming their own theories. Long-time sports journalist Andrea Kremer sees the death of MJ's father as evidence for Jordan's gambling troubles.

“Look at some of the events that recently happened: His father was tragically murdered. There’s a number of questions about his gambling. You start to connect some dots and you think: Is this all related? Was this a secret suspension?” Kremer claimed.

Clearly, not everyone is sold.