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Home > People > The Case of Michael Jordan's Stolen Jersey

The Case of Michael Jordan's Stolen Jersey

This article tells about the game in which Michael Jordan was forced to wear number 12 after his jersey was stolen in Orlando, Florida.

Michael Jordan 12 Jersey

It was Valentine's Day 1990. Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were in Orlando, Florida, for a game against the Magic. Sometime before the team's scheduled shootaround, Jordan reported that his famous number 23 jersey was missing. It was apparently next to his locker at 5:30, but by 5:45, it had disappeared without a trace. The locker room was thoroughly searched, but no one could find it. It soon became clear that the jersey was not simply lost, it was stolen!  Jordan himself was devastated and angry. Since his college days, the superstitious superstar had never worn any other number than his beloved 23.  Soon, accusations started flying. Some pointed fingers at Orlando Magic personnel, others at locker room attendants. Whatever the case, and whoever the culprit, the jersey was not coming back, for now. 

Plan A

The Bulls' staff couldn't waste time trying to figure out who stole Michael Jordan's jersey, now they had to figure out how to get him a jersey. Their first plan was to spot a fan with a number 23 jersey and to negotiate with him or her to "borrow" it. The good news was that there were plenty of people with Jordan jerseys on, the bad news was that all were much too small for the six-foot six-inch tall superstar. 

Plan B

Now that Plan A failed, the Bulls had to initiate Plan B, which involved utilizing the team's single extra jersey. It was a nameless jersey labeled with the number 12. The extra jersey was supposed to be used in the event a player's jersey was damaged or ripped during the game. Imagine? The world's greatest basketball player is forced to wear a jersey in an NBA game without his name on it. 

The Aftermath

In the only game he'd ever play as number 12, Jordan's Bulls were defeated by the Magic, despite his 49 points. In the days following the jersey caper, someone noticed a ceiling tile in the visitor's locker room was out of place. Upon further investigation, the missing jersey was found tucked away above the suspect tile. An Orlando Magic security guard eventually admitted that another guard, who was subsequently fired, had planned the entire fiasco, and had come through the ceiling "Mission Impossible-style" to steal the jersey, and had left it above the ceiling tile for safekeeping. According to team officials, the jersey was mailed back to Bulls headquarters, although team officials who would have received the jersey claimed they never got it. 



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