Michael Jordan remains arguably the greatest player behind his illustrious NBA career. After his tenure with the Chicago Bulls, he extended it two more seasons with the Washington Wizards. Jordan’s final go-around also left an unforgettable memory for fellow Hall of Famer Grant Hill.
Michael Jordan’s illustrious NBA career
Jordan played 15 NBA seasons, where he established himself as arguably the greatest player in league history.
The former Bulls great accomplished numerous accolades along the way, such as winning six NBA titles, six NBA Finals MVP awards, five regular-season MVP awards, 14 All-Star selections, fourth on the all-time scoring list, a Defensive Player of the Year award, 10 All-NBA First team nods, nine All-Defensive First team selections, and 10 scoring titles.
Jordan became recognized as the gold standard before stepping into his second retirement after the 1997-98 season. His comeback two years later to play for the Wizards for two more seasons gave him the chance to add to his legacy.
His brief stint with Washington also featured a memorable moment for another Hall of Famer.
Michael Jordan ‘Torched’ Grant Hill and forced him past the bench and into the locker room during their final NBA matchup
Even in Jordan‘s third run in the NBA, he continued to play with the same tenacity and passion for the game.
Although he wasn’t the same player physically due to his age, the all-time great guard still brought it on a nightly basis. Hall of Famer Grant Hill recounted one of those performances during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show in what turned out to be his last matchup against Jordan during the 2002-03 season.
Hill voiced that before the January 16, 2003 matchup against Jordan and the Wizards, he knew he would miss the rest of the season due to his ankle injury. However, the former Orlando Magic forward wanted one last go-around with His Airness but quickly learned he didn’t have what it takes to keep up with him.
“So we’re playing Wizards, and it’s a TNT game, and he torched me in that first quarter, he literally gave me 20 points in the first quarter on the same play,” Hill recalled. “He just ran the same play. I could not guard him, and literally, I checked out of the game in the first quarter, and I didn’t even go to the bench, I walked back to the locker room, and I was done. I had surgery a couple of days later, but I wanted to guard Jordan one last time, and I shouldn’t have.”
Hill’s memory served him well as Jordan lit him up for 20 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including hitting 6-of-8 attempts from the free-throw line. He finished with a game-high 32 points, leading the Wizards to a comfortable 108-93 win. Meanwhile, Hill played six minutes in the first quarter, failing to register a single point. He finished the game taking the floor for 12 minutes, scoring just two points.
Granted, Hill was playing through a serious injury, but it was an unforgettable experience playing against Jordan.
Michael Jordan’s legacy remains atop
Jordan remains the gold standard in many of his peers and the current generation of player’s eyes.
The former Bulls great performed at an unmatched level while leading his team to tremendous success. Although Jordan was moving through his last campaign, he performed at a high level at age 39, averaging 20.0 points on 44.5% shooting from the floor.
Regardless of the point in his career, Jordan carried the prestigious aurora and recognition from his colleagues. Hill’s story is another reminder of the talent he possessed even in his final season.