During the 2001-02 season, Michael Jordan came out of retirement for the second time to play with the Washington Wizards. He was an executive with the team but came down from the front office to play since he felt he could help the players more on the hardwood.
The Wizards missed the playoffs during the brief Jordan era, but the Chicago Bulls legend still put on a show from time to time. Although it was weird seeing the five-time MVP play in a Wizards jersey and not a Bulls uniform, basketball fans were glad they got one more look at him playing the sport he loves.
Not everyone enjoyed watching Jordan play for the Wizards, though. In fact, one of the best players in Washington franchise history hated it.
Michael Jordan averaged 21.2 points per game with the Wizards
Jordan appeared in 142 games with the Wizards. He averaged 21.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 4.4 assists while shooting 43.1% from the field, 24.1% from beyond the arc, and 80.5% from the free-throw line.
The six-time champion had some big games with the Wizards. During the 2001-02 season, he scored at least 40 points five times and dropped 51 on the Charlotte Hornets on December 29, 2001.
During his final season in the NBA, Jordan’s best game was against the New Orleans Hornets on February 1, 2003. He scored 45 points while shooting 18-of-33 from the floor.
Die-hard basketball fans will always remember where they were on April 16, 2003. That was the night Jordan played his last game in the NBA against the Philadelphia 76ers. His Airness notched 15 points in 28 minutes and got a standing ovation from the Sixers crowd upon checking out the game.
Bulls fans didn’t love the fact that Jordan played for the Wizards since he’ll always be remembered for his dominant run in Chicago. Despite not growing up a Bulls fan, Washington superstar shooting guard Bradley Beal was in the same boat as Chicagoans.
Bradley Beal didn’t enjoy the Michael Jordan years in Washington
Beal recently told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington that he didn’t exactly love watching Jordan play for the Wizards. The All-Star shooting guard always wanted the six-time Finals MVP to be a “Bull for life.”
Bulls fans are in total agreement with Beal. They wanted Jordan’s final NBA game to be in a Chicago uniform, not a Wizards jersey. It was emotional when MJ came to the United Center as a visitor, as it was a sight no one thought they’d ever see.
Despite only playing 142 games for the Wizards, Jordan is ninth in franchise history in points per game. Meanwhile, Beal is seventh on that list but will likely continue to rise since he’s turned himself into an elite scorer.
Can Beal do what MJ failed to accomplish?
Beal and the Wizards are in 10th place in the Eastern Conference standings. The three-time All-Star is averaging 31.4 points per game on the season and has helped Washington turn its campaign around after a brutal start.
Along with Russell Westbrook, Beal is looking to lead the Wizards to the playoffs, something Jordan wasn’t able to do during his brief stint in D.C.
It will be fascinating to see if Washington can achieve its goal and qualify for the play-in tournament. If the Wizards do make it, it’s safe to say no team wants to see Beal and Westbrook in a do-or-die game.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.