“MJ threw that check and said f**k off”- Gilbert Arenas recalls how Michael Jordan once threw away $10 million just because he felt disrespected

NBA legend Michael Jordan didn’t experience much success during his time as president of basketball operations for the Washington Wizards.

Most notably, Jordan selected notorious draft bust Kwame Brown No. 1 in the 2001 NBA draft.

Jordan then decided to come out of retirement and play two seasons for the Wizards from 2001 to 2003. Upon his third and final retirement, Jordan expected to retain his role as president of basketball operations. However, then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin had other plans.

According to former Wizards star point guard Gilbert Arenas, this led to hard feelings between Jordan and Pollin.

During an interview with VladTV in 2021, Arenas said that he was considering signing with the Wizards shortly after Jordan was fired in 2003. Arenas said that Pollin told him that the Wizards’ players didn’t want Jordan to be around anymore. This came despite Jordan planning to purchase a new ownership stake in the team:

“So while I’m trying to figure out what I’m gonna do, Jordan’s trying to figure out what he’s going to do with the Wizards because he’s supposed to be the owner,” Arenas said.

“So when I went there, that was actually one of my questions, or my dad’s question, ‘Like, hey, what’s up with the Jordan thing, why didn’t you sign him back?’

“And Abe Pollin was like, ‘I love basketball, I love the players, so I asked the players what do they want, and the players did not want Jordan back.’”

Arenas said that Abe Pollin tried to pay Michael Jordan $10 million to leave the team on good terms. However, Jordan felt so disrespected by Pollin that he threw the $10 million away:

“So it’s mental MJ, too. So ‘The Last Dance MJ,’ that mentality, those young kids weren’t ready for it. So they’re looking at an icon who becomes this bad guy to them.

“You know MJ, ‘Yeah, I won six championships, what the f**k are y’all gonna do for me?’ It’s that MJ, so those guys were like, ‘We don’t want him as an owner. If this is what he was as a player, we don’t want him as an owner.’

“(Pollin) was like, ‘Yeah, you know, I wrote MJ a check, $10 million dollars and said thank you for your services.’ MJ threw that check and said ‘F**k off.’”

How did Michael Jordan fare during his two seasons with the Washington Wizards?

NBA legend Michael Jordan during his two-year stint with the Washington Wizards
NBA legend Michael Jordan during his two-year stint with the Washington Wizards

As for how Michael Jordan fared during his brief time playing for Washington, Jordan still put up respectable numbers given his age and waning athleticism.

The aging star averaged 21.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game on 43.1% shooting over 142 games.

However, it didn’t translate to the win column as Washington went 37-45 in back-to-back years, missing the playoffs in both seasons. Overall, the Wizards finished with a total record of just 67-75 in the 142 games Jordan played for the franchise.


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