Even at the age of 40, Michael Jordan was superior to most of the younger guards at that time in the NBA. Apart from being extremely skilled, Jordan was still very competitive even though he had nothing to prove anymore. With multiple NBA championships, MVP awards, and many other accolades, you would think a guy would give it a rest in his last NBA season, but Jordan wasn’t like that, especially with the Wizards fighting for a playoff spot.
In his last game at Madison Square Garden, like many times before in the same arena, Jordan failed to disappoint, dropping a game-high 39 points and single-handedly keeping the Wizards close. Unfortunately for Washington, they lost by 97-96.
With 20 games left in the season, the Wizards dropped 1 1/2 games behind the eighth seed. Being in the playoff race, and letting the game slip out of your hands, could be the crucial moment in the quest for a postseason. Jordan knew that all too well. Unfortunately, the rest of the Wizards didn’t.
Until guys let go of that macho, cool attitude and do the necessary things that it takes to play the game of basketball, it’s going to be tough for Washington to make anything.Michael Jordan
Michael wasn’t going to let his teammates off the hook. His teammates, nearly half of his age, who couldn’t match MJ’s approach and effort shown during the contest. You already know Michael was having none of that.
It’s very disappointing when a 40-year-man has more desire than a 24-, 25-, or 23-year old, diving for loose balls, busting his chin, and doing everything he can to get his team into the playoffs, and it’s not reciprocated from the other players on the team. I’m trying to do everything I can to verbalize and physically show what it takes to win. It’s up to them to see that and do the extra work and do the necessary things. We have too many players making the same mistakes in March as they made in October.Michael Jordan
We’ve heard it before – the Wizards’ Michael Jordan wasn’t easy to play with. He kept the same energy as the vocal leader, but couldn’t deliver the way he did with the Bulls. But it was still Michael Jordan. You’d imagine having him as your mentor would have a positive impact on the way you approach the game. But it wasn’t the case with this group of Wizards.
It’s frustrating because I know they’re capable, and it’s sad because I know more about them than they do. Even if you can’t do it offensively, do defensive things to make us a better basketball team. It’s the little things that make a difference, and it’s sad that we’re not doing that when we’re at a point of urgency.Michael Jordan
No MJ, you were well past the point of urgency. Not from the record point, but from the point of everyone being on board. Because the Wizards went 8-12 in the remaining 20 games and finished the season as the ninth seed, four games behind the eighth-seeded Bucks.
Having teammates who weren’t dedicated enough kept Jordan from making the playoffs for the final time in his career. Thus his farewell campaign was ruined, as Mike said his final goodbye to the game of basketball.