Michael Jordan is known for many things: two three-peats; a relentless work ethic; and jawdropping skills on the court.
And he was loyal to labor, refusing to cross the MLB picket line in 1995.
A year earlier, he had joined minor league baseball as a member of the White Sox organization, after leading the Bulls’ to its first three-peat a year earlier. His new team was the Birmingham Barons and he entered his new role with the same dedication as he did basketball.
But on August 12th, 1994, Major League Baseball players went on strike. The strike continued into next year. “It was the winter of 1995, major league baseball was on strike and Michael Jordan — at that time still a member of the Chicago White Sox organization — refused to be a scab and cross the picket lines,” Yahoo Sports reports.
“I always told management I don’t want to do anything to infringe on what the players are going to do,” Jordan said. “I don’t anticipate and hopefully I’m not put in that predicament. I’m a minor leaguer and I’m staying away from that stuff.”
The owner of the White Sox moved to put Jordan in that predicament by announcing that no players were exempt from being used as replacement players. Jordan responded by quitting baseball completely.
He returned to the NBA instead and led the Bulls to their second three-peat.
As we approach Labor Day, let us remember that Jordan was more than an amazing basketball player – he was also a friend of labor.