Retired For 3 Years, 38 Y/o Michael Jordan Drank Cocktails, Smoked, And Then Dropped 51 After A Defender Whined About His Back

Samir Mehdi
|Published January 09, 2023

Michael Jordan has retired a total of 3 times from the game of basketball. The first was after having won his 3rd straight championship in 1993. His father had tragically been murdered that same summer and so he decided to step away from the NBA and focus on baseball with the Birmingham Barons. 

The third time he retired was the final time as he would hang up his jersey as a Washington Wizard and call it a career after the end of the 2002-03 NBA season. His second time retiring however, was perhaps his most interesting due to how many layers there were to it. 

Jordan returned to NBA hardwood as a Chicago Bull in 1995 and would go on to lead them to 3 straight championships from 1996-98. Jerry Krause, the Bulls GM, refused to let Phil Jackson back on as head coach and because of this, Jordan retired after the ‘98 championship. He wouldn’t return until the 2001-02 season.

Also read: Despite $10 Billion Brand, Michael Jordan Had Penny Hardaway ‘Trippin’ After Wearing His Shoes Against Him In 1995

Michael Jordan asked Doug Collins if he could still play in the NBA. 

Doug Collins was Jordan’s coach after Stan Albeck and was the only coach out of 3 Bulls coaches from 1984-98 that let Jordan take the reins completely. He centered the offense completely around Jordan and while this didn’t lead to a title, it certainly helped forge a strong relationship between the two. 

Fast-forward to the 2001-02 season and Michael Jordan suited up for the Washington Wizards as he was their President of Basketball Operations at the time. Collins was also brought on as head coach in the process. 

Collins recounts the time when MJ had his iconic 51 point game against the Charlotte Hornets during that season. He claims MJ drank cocktails, smoked cigars, and then hit the gym the morning after at 7:30am. This was all after he had asked Collins if he could still play in the league, to which Doug said, “Absolutely.”

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It should be noted that Collins says MJ dropped 51 on the Nets when in reality Jordan never dropped 51 on the Nets. He did so on the Hornets. He dropped 45 on the Nets. 

Michael Jordan and the Wizards would miss the Playoffs both seasons 

For the first time in Jordan’s illustrious career, he would miss the Playoffs during the 2001-02 season. He would play 60 games that season but due to a knee injury, had to sit out. Despite Washington entering the All-Star break with a 26-21 record, they would end the season with a 37-45 record. 

The second season with the Wizards, which was also his last, also resulted in the exact same 37-45 record, which led to them missing the Playoffs as well.

Also read: Michael Jordan, Who Made Free Throws Blindfolded, Used His Left Hand On The Line Against The Hawks

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About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is an NBA Editor at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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