Michael Jordan struggled to let go. Who can blame him? He was arguably the greatest player to ever play in the NBA, winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls.
Jordan has retired from the league three times. When he returned from his second retirement, he slowed down but was still one of the best in the game. His former coach, Doug Collins, called him “a luxury car, not a sports car.”
Michael Jordan showed he was human in his later years with the Washington Wizards
Jordan retired after the 1992-93 NBA season to pursue a professional baseball career. After an unsuccessful year-long attempt to hang on to the Chicago White Sox and hit .202 at the Double-A level, he returned to basketball. It was as if he hadn’t missed a thing.
He played the last 17 games of the season, guiding the Bulls to a 13-4 record and into the playoffs. Chicago fell to the Orlando Magic in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The next three seasons belonged to Jordan and the Bulls, who scored their second hat-trick of the decade.
It was when the Bulls broke up that Jordan began to fall apart. He retired again after his sixth championship. In 2000, he returned as co-owner and president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards. A year later, he was back on the pitch playing for the Wizards.
After a three-year hiatus, Jordan clearly wasn’t the dominant force he was with the Bulls, but he still posted impressive numbers. In his two seasons with the Wizards, he averaged 21.2 points per game, down 10 points from his days with the Bulls. His field goal percentage also dropped significantly, from 50.5 with the Bulls to 43.1 with the Wizards.
Doug Collins called Michael Jordan a luxury car, no longer a sports car
He was a step or two slower, but Jordan could still play. After three years of absence, he has shown that he can still play at the Jordan level. Consistency has become an issue. After scoring six career points in a game against the Indiana Pacers, he became the oldest player in league history to score more than 50 points when he scored 51 against Charlotte in the game. following.
The return of a three-year layoff has raised many doubts. Doug Collins, who coached Jordan and the Bulls from 1986 to 1989 and then coached him with the Wizards, was a person who had no such doubts.
“People had doubts,” Collins told Illustrated sports in 2002, “but I knew if Michael was going to do that, he thought he could still play really well.”
Collins saw the Jordan of yore up close, and he saw the most experienced and crafty version with the Wizards. He compared the two. “It’s a luxury car and not a sports car anymore,” Collins said.
Jordan learned to adapt well to life after Air Jordan
The spring in his gait may have waned, but Jordan was still better than most. He was still one of the Wizards’ hardest workers, and that rubbed off on some of the players.
“When you see how hard he works and how he behaves, you want to do the same,” goaltender Tyronn Lue said at the time. “These are the kinds of things that rub off on all of us.”
Charles Oakley, a friend of Jordan’s and a Bulls player when MJ was with Washington, said Jordan’s experience would trump a young athletic pistol.
“Michael couldn’t have been this good if he wasn’t so basically good,” Oakley said. “He shows that in basketball an old head can beat a young pair of legs.”
By Jordan’s standards, his two seasons with the Wizards weren’t the best, but he’s proven that a luxury car is much more efficient than a lot of those other high-priced sports cars.
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