We sometimes forget that Michael Jordan, the GOAT, retired three times. His legacy lends it self to a narrative that omits those details. Byron Russell will tell you the same. However, Jordan’s comeback, not the second three-peat with the Chicago Bulls, but the one with the Washington Wizards, is perhaps the most forgotten chapter of his storied career.
Nylon Calculus took a look at the potential options for Jordan when he returned to the game in 2001 At 38, he wasn’t at his peak. (NBA Street Vol. 2 will tell you that is ‘96 Jordan) But frankly, he was still Jordan and could ball better than some of today’s All Stars. No, seriously. He was still that good. So, he signed on for a couple of seasons in Washington in the pre-Agent Zero days. He was a minority owner of the Wizards, after all. If he wasn’t, and had a choice to play anywhere, where might he have gone? I have a suggestion...
Michael Jordan should’ve played for the Dallas Mavericks. Nylon Calculus agrees. According to them, Jordan would have made the Mavs, specifically the 2002-03 team, a super team.
From Nylon Calculus:
The Mavs would have checked a lot of boxes for the perfect MJ Superteam: MVP-caliber table-setting point guard, MVP-caliber big man, three-point shooting from multiple positions, and a rim protector. The Mavs — with Dirk constantly tugging at his jersey collar, Nash incessantly tucking his hair behind his ears, and Jordan sticking out his tongue left and right — could have been the perfect combination of eccentricities to form a championship-winning Superteam…or it could have gone horribly wrong, I’m not sure.
(Read their full analysis here.)
Let’s be honest here. If Dirk hadn’t have gotten hurt in the ‘03 Western Conference Finals, the Mavs would have beaten the Spurs. No question. But neither you nor I can change the past.
Can you imagine that team with Jordan, though? I don’t care if NC thinks they would be bad defensively. They already were. (They weren't actually, as Bobby Karalla informs me.) Besides, Raja Bell was good enough to guard five players at once anyway. But just think of the insane Jordan lineups that Don Nelson would roll out. Jordan and Dirk! Jordan and Nash! Jordan and Finley! Jordan and Nick the Quick! Jordan and Eddie Energy! Jordan and Raef! Jordan and Abdul-Wahad! Jordan and Eschmeyer! This last pairing would have set Alta Vista on fire! It would have been glorious. Heck, Jordan would probably play three or four positions for Nelly. It’s Nelly! It’s Jordan! It’s everything! Imagine the gambling and cigar smoking. YES! Jordan’s jersey would be in the rafters at the AAC by now. No, you stop salivating!
Years ago, Jordan mentioned that Dirk was one of the four players that could have played in his era. Just imagine if twilight Jordan had teamed up with the youthful Tall Baller from the G. Sadly, that’s all we can do. But dammit if it isn’t fun.
The only other team that NC mentions as a potential super team from that era with Jordan is the Sacramento Kings. Maybe if they had him they would actually have a ring. Or maybe Robert Horry still has something to say about that. I guess we’ll never know. That’s neither here nor there. All I have to say about the Kings now is #BoogieToDallas.
Clearly, though, Jordan on the ‘03 Mavs makes the most sense. Can you say "RINGZ?" I can. Imaginary rings are facts and you can’t argue with facts.