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“One of the bad decisions I made was to go back and play” — Michael Jordan on why he regrets coming back to play for the Washington Wizards

MJ thought he was ”being innovative in my job by going down and evaluating the talent firsthand.” It was the exact opposite.
Washington Wizards guard Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan's legendary basketball career is barely associated with his tenure with the Washington Wizards. Usually, when basketball fans think of the 6-time champion, they reminisce about his glory days with the Chicago Bulls, and rightfully so — because Chicago was where MJ turned into a global phenomenon.

However, as incredible as Michael's career was, what won't be forgotten is how he returned to the NBA in 2001 despite retiring from the sport twice and saying that he was 99.9% certain that he would never be in the NBA again. Ultimately, the decision to return from retirement for the second time was one that Jordan regretted years after.

Michael couldn't deal with his teammates anymore

Before Jordan suited up for the Wizards, he was a part-time owner and the team's president of basketball operations. He did it for 2 years, but as time passed, MJ realized that the best way to evaluate his team was to be an active player on the roster again.

Then, when Jordan came out of retirement to play again, it was clear that he was no longer the same player. He was 38 years old and didn't have the energy and willpower to discipline his teammates on the court the way he did in Chicago. MJ showed flashes of his old self from time to time but could no longer lead his team to the mountaintop.

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".... One of the bad decisions I made was to go back and play. Even though I was soothing an itch that I had, I also thought I was being innovative in my job by going down and evaluating the talent firsthand. I thought it would be a good idea to play against them, see what their tendencies were and what we were paying for. But at the same time, I became more critical of them because of the way I played the game and the way I'd approached the game, and the players didn't respond to that..," Jordan said in a one-on-one interview with Marvin R. Shanken in 2005.

Jordan also admitted that he got too critical of his teammates, which affected his relationships with them. According to the 6-time champion, his teammates in Washington didn't respond to his desire to win, which rubbed him off the wrong way.

The Wizards could have been in a better place operation-wise.

Jordan's stint as the Wizards' part-time owner and president of basketball operations didn't turn out to be much of a success. He eventually stepped down as the team's president and sold his 10% stake to Ted Leonsis. MJ admitted that he did it because things weren't looking good on the Wizards' operation side.

"You go in with initiative, and you go into a program that needs guidance, and you have to find out what the agenda may be. With the Washington situation, there was an agenda. They were well over the cap and they were losing money," Jordan added.

Ultimately, Jordan's tenure as the Wizards' president and the part-time owner wasn't memorable, but he still gave the city of DC a lot to cheer for. In two seasons with the Wizards at the age of 38 and 39, MJ averaged 21.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.5 steal a game.

Despite never making it to the Playoffs, Jordan scored 40 points and above 8 times and dropped 51 points in 1 game. He hit a couple of game-winners and gave Wizards fans a taste of what it's like rooting for a team led by the one and only Michael Jordan. 

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