Sometimes I have trouble believing it even though I know it happened – Michael Jordan played for the Wizards.
He emerged out of retirement for the second time and instead of playing with the Bulls – the team he built his legacy with – he laced up for the Washington professional basketball team formally known as the Bullets. A team that didn’t have a storied history, a team that wasn’t poised to win a championship, a team whose building block was Kwame Brown – drafted straight out of high school that would later turn out to be a bust.
Of course there was a reason. He was president of basketball operations and minority owner. He wanted to make money off of his investment. But still… the Wizards?
Michael will always be known for the last second shot. I can hear the Jay-Z lyric from N*ggas in Paris as I write this.
Jordan, Game Six.
The game clinching shot over a frustrated Byron Russell. The perfect way to go out. On top. A champion.
But that isn’t how the story ended.
It ended like it does for 99% of athletes – his skills eroded while playing on a poor team looking a shadow of his former dominant self.
Happened to Willie Mays. Happened to Muhammad Ali. Most recently it happened to Peyton Manning. While he went out on a top with a championship, it was painful to watch him struggle throughout the season.
Enjoy your time in the game – it isn’t going to last.
We all want to go out on our own terms, but even the greatest don’t always get that chance.