ESPN aired the final episode of "The Last Dance," the 10-part documentary chronicling Michael Jordan and the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, on May 18. Still, time hasn't stopped people from talking about Jordan's career, either on the hardwood or on the diamond.
Consider Bob Nightengale's latest piece for USA Today, in which he talked about Jordan's baseball days with Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the Bulls and the Chicago White Sox. (Jordan, of course, played a minor-league season with the White Sox during his basketball sabbatical.) You can add Reinsdorf to the list people who think Jordan could have made it to the majors if he had stuck with the game a season longer.
"Yes, I really do (think so),'' Reinsdorf said to Nightengale. "Maybe as an extra outfielder. Look at what he accomplished.
This sentiment shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. Back in May, we talked to some of Jordan's former teammates with the Birmingham Barons. They too believed he could've reached the majors in some capacity thanks to his athleticism and work ethic.
"Being with him on a daily basis for six months, and knowing how much work he was putting into it," reliever Barry Johnson said, "I don't think it's that big of a stretch to see him in a big-league uniform."
Even Jordan's biggest detractors conceded that it was possible he would play in the majors.
"Michael can't really play baseball, but he's not terrible," former big-league catcher John Stearns told an Arizona paper in 1994. "He doesn't have power. His defense is way below average. He can't throw. His baseball instincts are poor. But he can run a little bit and can hit a little bit. Considering he's never played baseball all these years, it's incredible that he's able to hold his own here. He's not a prospect for me. But he may play in the big leagues. You may take him as a 25th guy. Why not?"
Jordan instead returned to basketball the following spring, in part because of his refusal to cross the picket line established by the Major League Baseball Players Association.