Michael Jordan made the decision to unretire and to play for the Washington Wizards In the summer of 2001, Jordan expressed interest in making another comeback. Jordan’s comeback was inspired by his friend Mario Lemieux, who decided to make a comeback of his own the winter before.
Per ESPN’s Larry Schwartz, Michael Jordan spent much of the spring and summer of 2001 in training, holding several invitation-only camps for NBA players in Chicago. Also, Jordan made the decision to hire his old Chicago Bulls head coach, Doug Collins, as Washington’s coach for the upcoming season. It was a move that foreshadowed Jordan returned to the NBA.
Jordan would make the announcement that he would be returning to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards on September 25, 2001.
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Mark Cuban Reveals that he Attempted to Bring Jordan to the Mavericks
Before Michael Jordan made it official that he was returning to NBA as a member of the Washington Wizards, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban recently shared he tried to bring him to Dallas instead.
“The first time when got with the Wizards and he wasn’t playing yet. I told him that we were going to kick his A** because the little know story is I got a hold of Michael [Jordan] the morning of the day he was going to sign the papers with the Wizards and talked to Jordan’s agent David Falk. He says you should go talk to Michael, maybe see if you could change his mind. I couldn’t change his mind. I told him to come and play for the Mavs instead,” said Cuban.
“He already committed and stayed true to his word and didn’t do anything, and he stayed with them. Then we played them later and told him Shawn Bradley is going to kill you guys, and Shawn Bradley tore them up, and he was up in the owner’s booth, and I was down on the court, and I kept on point with him.”
Jordan’s former teammate with the Wizards, Pope Jones, who now is an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers. Recently shared with me a story from the Wizards’ preseason game against the Miami Heat in 2001. The Jumpman told his teammate before took the court that he was going to show them how to score 20 points and then go sit down.
“We were playing in one of the first preseason games we were playing [the] Miami [Heat], and we were in the tunnel getting ready to walk out. And again, it was a preseason game, and he [Michael Jordan] said I’m going to show you guys how to get 20 points in a quarter and sit down, and at the end of one, he had 18. Then he went ahead and sat down. That was unique, and I think one of the first practices because we know the type of scorer, he was, but we all know that” Jones told me. “I didn’t know the kind of playmaker he was until he showed us during practice, he was shooting every time and scoring. Coach Doug Collins said Michael, you can’t shoot anymore, and then he looked like he was John Stockton or Magic Johnson with his passing and his vision, which really impressed me. I said something to him, and he said I see everybody I just want to score.”