Jordan’s true final game came on April 16th, 2003. After two years with the Wizards, the G.O.A.T suited up for one final game against the 76ers in front of a packed house. Everyone came out to see him shoot one final time.
Michael Jordan is widely considered the best basketball player of all time. He played for much longer than most well-known athletes, reached previously unattainable heights, and succeeded at a level no one’s been able to match. Still, his career did eventually come to an end.
The following paragraphs look at the last game of his career, including how and when it happened. That will show the way his time on the court wrapped up, and also reveal why his years with the Bulls were so special.
A Storied Legacy
Jordan played 1,072 games in the NBA. In that time he won five MVP awards, played in 13 all-star games, and took home six championships. Those combined to create one of the most impressive resumes of anyone to ever step onto the hardwood.
However, he did get old eventually. While his play didn’t necessarily decline, injuries started to stack up and he couldn’t stay healthy forever. It is those factors that led to his eventual retirement, as well as his last game.
Jordan is a unique case because, unlike most players, he retired three different times. His first came in the mid-90s when he stepped away to play baseball, his second time came after winning his sixth championship, and his third (and final) was during his stint with the Wizards.
After going out on top in 1998, Jordan did come back for one last run with Washington. However, it didn’t quite go as planned. Where he first ended at the very top of the basketball world, his actual last game came on a much different note.
The Last Chapter
MJ’s final game was a huge event, and one that everyone knew would be remembered for the entirety of NBA history. It’s still an incredibly iconic game even to this day, but it’s known much more for what it symbolized than what actually happened. As a contest, it was pretty lackluster.
The Wizards were not a strong team during Jordan’s final years. They had a few good pieces, but could never get it all together. That was on full display during that night. They started strong, and then quickly fell apart. Washington would go on to lose 107 to 87.
Even Jordan himself didn’t get a great sendoff. He only strung together 15 points, which was well below his average for his career, and he pulled down just four rebounds and four assists. It wasn’t an impressive showing, but it wasn’t terrible for a 40-year-old either.
He went out on a softer note. Still, his entire career was so impressive that nobody held it against him. The fans in attendance were just happy to be a part of history.
Unlike his other retirements, 2003 truly was the end for Jordan. His body was getting too old, and he didn’t want to risk future injuries for a team that was in the middle of a rebuild. He likely could have legged it out for another year or two, but he decided it wasn’t worth the risk.
All great careers, no matter how special, have to end at some point. Jordan seemed almost indestructible during his peak, but age catches up to everyone eventually. Even so, his last game in blah wasn’t a sad occasion, but a reminder of just how special he was.