Washington Wizards: 15 greatest scorers of all-time

Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images /
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Michael Jordan, Washington Wizards
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Michael Jordan. 7. player. 142. . SF. (2001-03)

Most people would probably like to forget about Michael Jordan‘s brief comeback with the Wizards. Sure, he put up solid numbers, but he was far from the dominant player that terrorized the Eastern Conference throughout most of the 1990s. It’s simply didn’t feel the same.

A bit of backstory first. Jordan became part owner and president of basketball operations for the Wizards in January 2000. His most notable roster move during his tenure was him spending the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft on high schooler Kwame Brown (we’ll get back to him in a bit).

After about a year and change in the role, Jordan began machinating a possible return to the court, as he held workouts in Chicago during the spring and summer of 2001 and hired his former Bulls coach Doug Collins to succeed Leonard Hamilton in Washington.

Jordan officially announced his return on Sep. 25, 2001, while also deciding to donate his entire player salary to relief efforts for victims of the 9/11 attacks.

Jordan’s performance on the floor was good for someone who hadn’t played for over three years, especially when that person was 39 years old.

Most players would have gladly taken his averages of 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game, which is what he put up in 2001-02. However, those numbers were well below Jordan’s standards, as were his 20.0/6.1/3.8 averages in what was his final season in 2002-03.

The combination of age and injuries sapped Jordan of the athleticism that made him special. As a result, he turned into the high-volume, mid-range chucker that makes analytics people pull their hair out in clumps. The team was better with Jordan on the floor, but not significantly better.

On top of all that, Jordan was also his usual cantankerous self when it came to relations with his teammates, some of which he had a hand in putting on the team. Brown allegedly got the brunt of this abuse, which supposedly included Jordan yelling homophobic slurs at the teenager (Brown has denied this in interviews).

We may never get the full scope of Jordan’s time in Washington, but it was clearly a poor fit, even when some flashes of the old Jordan popped up every once in a while.