Jordan: 'Zero chance' of coming backPosted: Thursday November 28, 2002 10:01 PM
Updated: Saturday November 30, 2002 12:11 AM
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- There will be no third comeback for Michael Jordan.
"I've said all along that I would fulfill my contract. This is the end of my contract," Jordan said Friday before his Washington Wizards played the Indiana Pacers. "I'm not looking to extend my contract. If that was the case, I would have extended it myself before I even came back."
He signed a two-year, $2.1 million deal with Washington last year after stepping down from his executive duties with the team. He plans to return to his role as part owner of the Wizards after the season.
Jordan said on Thursday there was "zero chance" he will play next season. When he retired for the second time in 1999, he said he was 99.9 percent sure he'd never return.
Still, he came back to the NBA as a player in October 2001, saying he still had a competitive urge. He turns 40 in February and insists he will move on after this season.
"It's about that time," he said. "That itch is about to be completed."
Jordan energized Washington for most of last season before he was forced out of the lineup with a right knee injury that eventually required surgery.
Coming into this season, Wizards coach Doug Collins said Jordan would come off the bench in an effort to keep him fresh. However, with the Wizards slipping lately and on a four-game slide, Jordan told Collins -- whom he hired as coach while serving as team president -- to play him more.
Jordan is averaging 16.6 points a game this season.
He said he wants to see the Wizards' young players like Kwame Brown, Juan Dixon, Jared Jeffries and Tyronn Lue develop into a playoff-caliber team without him.
Jordan said he still thinks Washington (6-8) can make the playoffs, but his immediate goal is stopping the team's slide.
Washington has dropped five of its last seven games, including an 88-84 loss Tuesday night to Indiana. In that game, Jordan tied his season high with 34 minutes.
During his 14-year career, Jordan won the NBA MVP award five times and led the league in scoring a record 10 times.
He, Scottie Pippen and a strong group of role players helped the Bulls win six championships, from 1991-93 and 1996-98. Jordan retired the first time in 1993 to pursue a career in baseball, then returned for the final 17 games of the 1994-95 season.
After the Bulls' next three titles, Jordan retired again, in January 1999.
He became the Wizards' president of basketball operations on Jan. 19, 2000.
Jordan averaged 22.9 points last season, his lowest production since his injury-plagued second season with the Bulls, when he averaged 22.7 points in just 18 games.
With Jordan's experience, the Wizards briefly looked as if they might make the playoffs last season, starting 26-21. But he missed 22 games after the knee surgery, and the Wizards lost 24 of their last 35.
Jordan made a significant offseason move when he traded Richard Hamilton -- the team's second-leading scorer -- to Detroit for Jerry Stackhouse.