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After the tragic death of his father, Jordan decided that he had played his last game in the NBA and made the move to baseball. Accordingly the famous number 23 jersey was retired by the Bulls in November 1994.
He donned the number 45 in baseball which he wore as a high schooler and spent 18 months playing for the Barons. A series of events, including a major league strike, helped convince him it was time to return. The famous “I’m back.” fax was issued on March 18, 1995.
Upon returning to the Bulls Jordan continued to wear the #45 jersey. Bleacher Report quotes MJ “When I came back, I didn’t want to play in the last number that my father had seen me wear. Because he wasn’t around, I thought of my return as a new beginning.”
In the exciting climax to the Bulls vs Magic second-round playoff series opener Nick Anderson stole the ball from Jordan to set up the Magic’s clinching of the game.
Famously, Anderson tried his hand at trash talking MJ with his famous quote: “45 doesn’t explode like 23 used to. 45 is not 23. I couldn’t have done that to 23.”
Anderson should have known that Jordan is not his number having played 18 minutes five years earlier the night number 12 Jordan dropped 49 points on the Magic. Regardless, in presumed retaliation to the comment Jordan took to the court back in #23 the next time the Bulls faced the Magic.
Nick Anderson might have managed to stop an out of shape #45 but not even a $25,000 fine per game was stopping #23. Number 23 was back.
Number 45 Jordan cards
Having played 22 games in the #45 jersey, there are an abundance of very nice Jordan cards you can add to your collection to include this piece of sporting history. Let’s start with a look at the OG cards released back in the day of #45.
Early Jordan 45 cards
Here’s the list of Jordans from back in 1995 released at the time of his first comeback. Most interesting in this list is the 94-95 Topps Finest available in base and refractor parallel with its seemingly rushed release history.
45 jersey Jordan shadow cards
Shadow cards are fun to collect and usually accessible price and availability wise. There are even two Jordan shadow cards featuring the #45 jersey.
Not only that but Jordan is shown defending against fellow superstars Dell Curry and Grant Hill.
Rarest Jordan #45 jersey cards
We’ve already featured some very rare and valuable Jordan #45 cards but we can do even better with these here - including a 1/1 and the only auto on the list.
The rest of the Jordan #45s
Finally, there’s a number of Upper Deck sets which are dedicated to Jordan’s career or comeback in 1995. Here’s some of the cards showing the #45 jersey.
If you know of anything more that would be great to add to the list please do write in and happy collecting!