By the late 1980s, the Chicago Bulls was quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and Jordan was an instrumental part of the team's success. The Bulls made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1990 and won their first NBA championship the following year by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers. A rising NBA superstar, Jordan became known for his power and agility on the court as well as for his leadership abilities. He eventually landed several endorsement deals with such companies as Nike, which further pushed him into the spotlight.
In 1992, the Chicago Bulls beat the Portland Trail Blazers to win their second NBA championship. The team took their third championship the following year, dominating in the basketball world. Jordan, however, had other things on his mind. He lost his father, James, to an act of violence after the end of the 1992-93 season. Two teenagers shot James Jordan during an apparent robbery and were later convicted of the crime. In a move that shocked many, Michael Jordan decided to retire from basketball to pursue baseball. He played for a minor league team, the Birmingham Barons, as an outfielder for a year.
In March 1995, however, Jordan returned to the basketball court. He rejoined the Chicago Bulls and eventually helped them win the championship against the Seattle Sonics in the 1995-96 season. That same year, Jordan made a big splash in another arena—film—as the star of Space Jam (1996). The film mixed live action and animation and paired Jordan with cartoon legends Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck on screen.