Michael Jordan's short-lived stint with the Wizards is not remembered that fondly. Jordan was very old at the time, and no longer the explosive player he once was. While he was still one of the better players in the league at the time, it was clear that this run was more about helping the team find its legs rather than find success.
Jordan joined the Wizards with the intention of eventually becoming president of basketball operations full-time after he retired. But he was unceremoniously let go by the Wizards in 2003. Jordan was offered $10 million as compensation, but he shockingly threw the cheque away out of anger.
Former Wizards star Gilbert Arenas spoke in an interview recently and explained why Jordan didn't come back. Arenas, who signed with the Wizards in 2003, was looking forward to working with Jordan. But when he asked what the situation was with Jordan, he was told that there were reasons he wouldn't be coming back.
Arenas revealed that in the conversation he had with then-Wizards owner Abe Pollins, the reason Jordan was not kept on as the president of basketball operations was that the players didn't want him back, after having played with him for 2 seasons. Pollins felt compelled to side with the players and keep them happy.
“When I went there that was one of my questions. My dad’s question like ‘hey, what’s up with the Jordan thing? Why didn’t you sign him back?’. And (Abe) Pollin was like ‘I love basketball, I love the players. So, I asked the players what did they want. The players said they didn’t want Jordan back’.”
Jordan's retirement in 2003 was set to be his last and gave him a chance at a proper victory lap. At the 2003 NBA All-Star Game, the night was dedicated to Jordan, and Mariah Carey even performed in a Wizards jersey dress with Jordan's name and sang a medley that brought Jordan to tears.
Clearly, Jordan's first stint in the NBA as an executive did not work and left a sour taste in his mouth. He would take 3 years before he ventured back into the world, becoming a minority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2006, before becoming the controlling owner by the 2010s.