Here’s a little story for your #TBT: Do you notice anything different about MJ’s number?
Jordan’s No. 23 jersey is believed to have been stolen on the day of the game. The Bulls did not bring a backup No. 23 jersey with them, but the team did have a just-in-case No. 12 kit bearing no name on the back.
Over 47 minutes, Jordan scored 21 of his 43 shot attempts for a game-high 49 points. Chicago led by double digits in the third quarter, but the Magic – buoyed by 34 points from Terry Catledge, 16 off the bench from Scott Skiles and a then-franchise high 19 rebounds from Sidney Green – mounted a comeback to force overtime, where they pulled out a 135-129 win.
Former Bulls teammate Stacey King said he remembers the jersey theft being a “big deal” and how Jordan was “very superstitious” about his jersey. After the game, Jordan spoke about having to wear a different number. “That has never happened to me before,“ Jordan said, according to the Sentinel. "It’s pretty irritating because you’re accustomed to certain things and you don’t like to have things misplaced.”
It is not known who stole the jersey, but a person familiar with the event indicated the No. 23 jersey was taken between shoot around the day of the game and tipoff, and that it was found a couple of days later in the ceiling tiles of the visiting locker room.
Barring new information, the nature of the jersey’s disappearance ensures it will remain a mysterious footnote on the résumé of the greatest player in NBA history.