At the age of 38, Michael Jordan announced his second comeback to the NBA. This time, it wasn’t for the Chicago Bulls with whom he won 6 championships but the Washington Wizards, who were mediocre during those years. Despite being well past his prime, Jordan was the best player on that team and at times displayed flashbacks of his former self when he was the best player in the league. He no longer had the same quickness and explosiveness, but with sound fundamentals and high basketball, IQ dominated the competition easier than anyone expected.
Jordan played in 60 games during the 2001/02 season but unfortunately suffered an injury by tearing his meniscus. His knee injury affected the Wizards because, at one point, Jordan was actually keeping them in the playoffs. The Wizards won only 19 games one season before Jordan arrived, and before his injury, he led the team in scoring, assists, and steals, averaging 25 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals per game.
Having Jordan in the locker room motivated other players to perform better, especially on the defensive side of the floor. The Wizards had the second-worst defense season before Jordan’s arrival, but they improved substantially that year and were the 6th team in the league by points allowed before Jordan’s injury. It took Jordan a little longer to warm up, and as the season progressed, he was getting better and more efficient before his knee injury.
In the last 20 games before his injury, Jordan averaged 27 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and over 1 steal per game. However, Jordan was not done there, and in his last 10 games averaged almost 30 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1 steal per game in around 35 minutes of action per night.
The Wizards eventually finished the season with 34 wins, which was quite an improvement compared to their previous season. Who knows what could have happened if Jordan played more games that season because their chances of actually making the playoff were pretty solid at a certain point.
That season with the Wizards proved Jordan was still able to get buckets pretty much every night against any younger player in the league. Despite winning everything a basketball player can win during his career, he was extremely competitive and even wanted to play through the injury but ended up getting knee surgery. At certain times, he resembled his 90’s version out there, and there isn’t any doubt he would be pretty dominant in today’s NBA as well.