It is never easy to write off Michael Jordan. Unbelievable ability, combined with a never-say-never attitude, made Jordan a top player even towards the end of his career.
Jordan had retired in 1998 after winning six championships with the Chicago Bulls. But he came out of retirement three years later to play with the Washington Wizards. However, he was already 38 by the time he joined the Wizards. He might be well past his prime, but he did show a few vintage Jordan moments during his stint in Washington.
One such moment came in 2002 when Washington Wizards were playing Chicago Bulls. When the Bulls’ Ron Mercer tried to go for a layup, his Airness came flying to block him with his two hands. Even the Wizards coach wasn’t expecting it.
“I don’t know where he came from,” Wizards coach Doug Collins said after the game (Via Chicago Tribune). “It looked like he was out, and then all of a sudden he was taking the ball with two hands at the basket.”
Jordan was always a great defender. He was a three-time steals leader and had also won the Defensive Player of the Year award. But he still managed to show signs of his great ability at the age of 38. The flying two-handed block from Jordan had come with just 15 seconds left in the game. Wizards eventually won the game 89-83. Jordan said it was the anger that gave him that extra energy towards the end of the game.
“It was one of those situations where anger kind of gave me a little more energy to go up and get the block,” Jordan said. “It was somewhat of a moral victory because we had the game pretty much taken care of and to steal their thunder at the end was a big motivational factor. I just went for it to force a call or get a block. I just reacted.”
Jordan finished with 29 points in the game, and he had reached another milestone in his legendary career. He became the fourth player in NBA history to surpass 30,000 points after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, and Wilt Chamberlain.
Jordan eventually finished his career with 2003 with 32, 292 points at an average of over 30 points per game.