Remembering Michael Jordan’s Wizards career twenty years later

Michael Jordan of the Washington Wizards takes it all in during the final game of his legendary career (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Michael Jordan of the Washington Wizards takes it all in during the final game of his legendary career (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

April 16th, 2003, the final game of Michael Jordan’s legendary career was played. The Washington Wizards faced the 76ers in Philadelphia in a blowout loss. Jordan would contribute 15 points, four rebounds, and four assist on 40% from the field.

Jordan played all 82 games in his second season with the Wizards and was named to his 14th All-Star game. He was slated to come off the bench that night but was offered Vince Carters place in the starting lineup.

During his two-year stint in DC, Jordan averaged 21.2 points, 4.4 assists, and 5.9 rebounds per game in 142 games. These stats are not bad considering he was 38 and 39 years old in those two seasons. He would even score 40+ points numerous times, even going off for 51 points in December of 2001.

While his stats were impressive, Michael Jordan’s legacy with the Wizards would not be remembered positively.

Jordan began his time with the Wizards a year prior to his first game played. He was hired as the general manager of the Wizards in January of 2000, taking the place of Wizards legend Wes Unseld.

His time as a team executive went poorly to say the least. The most notable thing he accomplished in that seat was drafting Kwame Brown first overall in 2001 over Tyson Chandler, Pau Gasol, and Joe Johnson.

Three months after drafting Brown, Jordan would immediately stunt his development by announcing that he is coming out of retirement. A move that looking back, seems short sighted and was clearly a move to generate excitement for a team that historically lacks in that area.

Michael Jordan was a shell of himself with the Wizards, he could hardly create looks at the rim and settled for far too many jump shots. He was also nowhere near as effective on the defensive end of the floor. His age and three years of retirement were absolutely showing.

He also suffered a knee injury three quarters of the way through his first season with the team, hindering what he could accomplish. Although, the Wizards were on pace for 45 wins before his injury and finished with a measly 37 games in the win column. This was the first time Jordan would miss the playoffs and unfortunately, it would not be his last.

While many view this two-year stint as a stain on the legacy of one of the greatest athletes in history, it also generated the most national attention that the Washington Wizards have ever received. Jordan mania was real, and it greatly benefitted the Wizards if only for a short period while also harming the long-term growth of the young players on the team.

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