Two years later, he would announce that he was back, but this time not as a player as president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards. Jordan would have the final say on all personnel matters. Jordan was able to get rid of some large contracts such as Juwan Howard and Rod Strickland. However, In his first NBA draft as an executive, Jordan drafted Kwame Brown with the first pick of the 2001 NBA draft.
Despite his claim that he was “99.9% certain” that he would never play another NBA game in January 1999,” according to ESPN’s Larry Schwartz. 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.
The Jumpman [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 announce on September 25, 2001, that he be returning to the NBA to play for the Washington Wizards. He also announced that he would be donating his salary as a player to a relief effort for the victims of the September 11 attacks.
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Jordan’s EX-Teammate Reveals Jordan’s Message Right Before Wizards First Preseason Game
Former Washington Wizards forward Popeye Jones was a teammate of Jordan’s during the 2001-02 season in Washington. Jones is now an assistant coach with the Indiana Pacers, and last week, he shared that Michael Jordan told them he was going to show them how to score 20 points in a quarter and then sit down for the rest of the game.
“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.”
Jordan would end in 2002, due to torn cartilage in his right knee ended Jordan’s season after only 60 games.