Michael Jordan's "Secret Suspension" Remains One of NBA's Greatest Conspiracy Theories

Published on June 6th, 2022 3:29 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

Michael Jordan and the much discussed Secret Suspension.  In photo:  MJ playing golf. On October 6th, 1993, Michael Jordan shocked the world when he announced that he was retiring from the game of basketball.

Why would Michael Jordan, just 30 years of age and in his prime, retire from basketball? Why would Jordan, fresh off of his third straight NBA title/NBA Finals MVP, leave the game that he was still so clearly dominating?

At the time, Jordan said that he had lost his passion for the game, and that the murder of his father a few months prior had influenced his decision to retire.


In early 1994, Michael Jordan shocked the world again by signing a minor league baseball contract with the Chicago White Sox.

After a largely unimpressive stint in minor league baseball, Jordan would announce in March of 1995 that he was leaving minor league baseball, citing a worry that he would be used as a replacement player (Major League Baseball was enduring a nasty strike at the time).

On March 18th, 1995, Jordan announced he was returning to the Chicago Bulls ("I'm back"), and he would go on to win another three titles.


Now, where do the "secret suspension" rumors come into play?

To start, it was well-chronicled that Michael Jordan had a love for gambling.

Jordan reportedly gambled in Atlantic City during the 1993 NBA playoffs, and the author of a book alleged that he had won $1.25 million from Jordan while playing golf.

Jordan admitted that he had made "reckless decisions" during an interview with 60 Minutes, though he asserted that he was not a compulsive gambler.

The "secret suspension" believers said that the timing is too coincidental - Jordan is admittedly gambling a great deal and suddenly decides to retire at the age of 30, while at the absolute peak of his career. They said that it is too much to believe, and that Commissioner David Stern secretly suspended Michael Jordan for gambling.

The alleged reason for a "secret suspension"? To avoid embarrassment for both Jordan and the league.

Conspiracy theorists believe that Jordan was handed a year-plus suspension and came back at the first opportunity.


David Stern vehemently denied the rumor multiple times over the course of his career.

Others close to Jordan believe that the secret suspension rumor was nonsense and that Jordan had legitimately lost his desire to play basketball following the death of his father.


The Michael Jordan "secret suspension" remains one of the NBA's most legendary conspiracy theories, along with the "frozen envelope".

Related Articles