In 2002 and 2003 after a three year retirement following his career with the Chicago Bulls, Michael Jordan was working in the front office for the Washington Wizards. In one of his best moves, he signed a certain future Hall of Famer to join up with the Washington Wizards for two his final seasons in the NBA. That free agent was of course, himself. During that time he played with 21 different players. Unlike his time with the Bulls, it is possible that Michael Jordan was not the best player on his team. Without a doubt however he was easily the second or third best player on each of those teams despite the fact that he was pushing 40 years old. Of the 21 players who he teamed up with as a member of the Wizards, a few were NBA greats, most were good solid NBA stars, and many were typical NBA journeymen making their way through the league, hoping to get in the right system at the right time and make their mark in the NBA.
21. Brian Cardinal
As a third year forward out of Purdue University, Brian Cardinal played the fewest minutes, scored the fewest points, and had the lowest field goal percentage of all the players who were members of the Washington Wizards during the two years Michael Jordan was on the team. While at Purdue, Cardinal lead the team to the NCAA tournament all four years which included two trips to the Sweet Sixteen and one trip to the Elite Eight. After his solid college career, he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft with the 44th overall pick. He played two seasons with the Pistons which amounted to only 23 games before he was traded to the Wizards along with Jerry Stackhouse in 2002. After playing five games with Washington, he was waived. He did manage to hang around for nine more seasons in the NBA. The guy who was given the “Mr. Hustle” award at Purdue also fittingly holds the NBA record for charges taken in a quarter (nine) and charges taken in a game (24!).
20. Anthony Goldwire
After playing at the University of Houston and being drafted with the 52nd overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft, Anthony Goldwire managed to carve out a nine year NBA career, bouncing between nine different teams, in addition to a number of seasons of international and CBA hoops as well. Goldwire’s longest tenure was with the Denver Nuggets where he played for parts of three seasons and averaged eight points and over three rebounds per game. His time with the Wizards came nearer to the end of his NBA career and was short and sweet as he came to them mid-season from the San Antonio Spurs and only ended up playing in five games. In just under seven minutes per game with the Wizards, Goldwire averaged 2.6 points per game.
19. Bobby Simmons
After playing for three years at DePaul University, Bobby Simmons declared for the draft and was selected in 2001 with the 41st overall pick in the second round by the Seattle Supersonics. Simmons was traded later that year to the Washington Wizards. He played two seasons with the Wizards, one of which was during the reign of Jordan. He averaged over three points and two rebounds while playing around ten minutes per game in Washington. Simmons was a part of the trade the brought Jerry Stackhouse to the Wizards in 2002. He was released by the Pistons and ended up with the Clippers where he played for two seasons. He managed to eke out a eight more years in the NBA after departing the Wizards.
18. Etan Thomas
After a great career at Syracuse where he was named All-Big East and the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2000, Etan Thomas was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 12th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Wizards in 2001. Thomas played seven seasons with the Washington Wizards including both years that Jordan was on the team. He became a solid rotation player for the Wizards with his best year coming in 2003-2004 when he averaged just under nine points and 6.7 rebounds in about 24 minutes per game. He was with the Wizards for eight seasons including one which he sat out the entirety of because he had open heart surgery. Amazingly, he returned from his surgery and spent three more seasons in the NBA.
17. Jahidi White
Another player who was with the Wizards for the majority of his career including both years with Jordan was Jahidi White. He played his college hoops on the great mid-90s Georgetown teams with Allen Iverson and Othella Harrington. When White came out in the draft in 1998 he was selected by the Wizards with the 43rd overall pick in the second round. He started slowly his rookie year but saw an increase in minutes and production in his second and third years. White played just 16 games in 2002-2003 and was traded during the following season to the Phoenix Suns before finishing his career the next year with Charlotte. During his two years with Jordan on the Wizards he averaged over four points per game but over his full six seasons in Washington he managed 6.4 points per game.
16. Jared Jeffries
A star at the University of Indiana, Jared Jeffries led the Hoosiers to the 2002 NCAA Final Four where they lost in the championship game to the Maryland Terrapins. Forgoing his final two years of eligibility, Jeffries jumped to the draft and was selected with the 11th overall pick in 2002 by the Washington Wizards. Jeffries only appeared in 20 games his rookie season before he tore an ACL in practice and was out for the year. He played for the Wizards for four seasons, never averaging more than seven points per game. He signed with the New York Knicks in 2006 and spent seven more seasons in the NBA, moving to the Rockets for parts of two seasons before returning to the Knicks, and ending his career with the Portland Trailblazers.
15. Juan Dixon
In addition to finishing his four year career as the all time leading scorer at the University of Maryland, Juan Dixon led the team to two Final Fours and helped the Terrapins win their first national championship in 2002 while also earning consensus All-America honors. In the ensuing 2002 NBA Draft, Dixon was selected in the first round with the 17th overall pick. In his rookie year, Dixon averaged over six points per game in 42 games. He improved to 9.4 points per game in his second year but did not continue to develop as the Wizards hoped and was allowed to sign as a free agent with the Trailblazers in 2005. Dixon played seven seasons in the NBA including one more season with the Wizards before playing for a few years internationally.
14. Charles Oakley
One of Michael Jordan’s best teammates ever was Charles Oakley who during their time together was actually the second best player on the Bull- oh wait, we’re talking Wizards aren’t we. Well, Oakley was also a teammate of Jordan’s in Washington and hey, he was still okay there. Over a decade after leaving Chicago, Oakley reunited with Jordan with the Washington Wizards. It was Oakley’s second to last season so he did not provide much production, playing in only 42 games and averaging less than two points in 12.1 minutes per contest. Overall in his career, Oakley was a great player. In his 19 seasons in the NBA he scored over 12,000 points and grabbed over 12,000 rebounds and was an important piece of the Knicks team that went to the 1994 NBA Finals.
13. Bryon Russell
Coming out of Long Beach State, Bryon Russell was drafted with the 45th overall pick in the second round in the 1993 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. After a few slow seasons, Bryon Russell soon developed into an important part of the great mid-90s Suns teams lead by Karl Malone and John Stockton, including the two teams that lost in the NBA Finals to the Chicago Bulls. Russell was the player guarding Michael Jordan when he hit the game and series winning shot with five seconds left in game 6 of the 1998 NBA Finals. After nine seasons with the Jazz, Russell went to the Wizards in 2002 where he reunited with Jordan for a season before spending his final three seasons with the Lakers and the Nuggets. He played almost 20 minutes per game in 70 games with the Wizards but only averaged 4.5 points per game.
12. Tyrone Nesby
Variety is apparently the spice of life for Tyrone Nesby, who has played in nine different leagues and levels over his 13 years of professional and college basketball. He started off in junior college at Vincennes University, and then he played two years at UNLV. He went undrafted in the 1998 NBA Draft and signed with the CBA before finally making his way to the NBA with the Los Anegeles Clippers. His last two years in the NBA were with the Washington Wizards where he averaged 7.2 points, and just under four rebounds per game. His career did not end there however as he played in the Greek, Italian, Serbian, and Lithuanian leagues before returning to Las Vegas to play in the ABA.
11. Kwame Brown
Michael Jordan himself was the team president for the Washington Wizards who made the decision to select high school superstar Kwame Brown with the number one pick in the 2001 NBA Draft. He then came out of retirement to be his teammate. Brown had an okay career in the NBA, lasting 12 seasons but he only averaged over 10 points per game one time, in his third season with the Wizards which was the year after Jordan left the team. After Brown left the Wizards for the Lakers in 2005, he had stints in Memphis, Detroit, Charlotte, Golden State and wrapped up his career with the 76ers in 2013. His career average was 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game although he averaged 7.7 points per game with the Wizards over four years.
10. Courtney Alexander
After playing college basketball first at the University of Virginia, and then at Fresno State, Courtney Alexander was drafted by the Orlando Magic with the 13th overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft and was then traded to the Dallas Mavericks. He only played three seasons with three different teams and signed with two more that he never ended up playing for. He played sparingly for the Mavericks and was shipped to the Wizards during his rookie season. His first 27 games in Washington however were the best stretch of his career as he averaged 17 points per game. The following year in a full season with the Wizards he cooled off a bit, averaging just less than 10 points per game while playing fewer minutes. He was traded to Charlotte in the offseason where he played his final NBA season.
9. Hubert Davis
Hubert Davis had a solid journeyman career in the NBA playing for the Knicks, Raptors, Mavericks, Wizards, Pistons and Nets. He started out at the University of North Carolina, playing a key part in the 2001 Final Four team. He was drafted by the New York Knicks with the 20th overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. Davis played for the Knicks for four years including 1994 when they made it to the NBA Finals. After being traded to the Raptors and then moving to Dallas he ended up with the Wizards for two years starting at the end of the 2000-2001 season. He averaged 7.2 points per game during his year with Jordan while playing 51 games. He played two more seasons in the NBA before retiring and moving into coaching.
8. Tyronn Lue
The guy known more for coaching the Cavaliers to an NBA championship last year than anything else, Lue was also a long time NBA player, serving eight different stints with seven different teams over 11 NBA seasons. Originally a star the University of Nebraska, Lue was drafted in the first round with the 23rd overall pick of the 1998 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets and sent to the Los Angeles Lakers. He played on the Lakers two championship teams in 2000 and 2001 before signing with the Washington Wizards in the 2001 offseason. He played the same two years with the Wizards as Jordan did and averaged over eight points and over three assists per game while there. He played six more seasons after leaving the Wizards before he started coaching.
7. Brendan Haywood
During four years playing for the University of North Carolina, three of which he was a starter, Brendan Haywood helped the Tar Heels to the NCAA tournament each season. He was a big part of their 2000 Final Four team and is the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots with 304. Haywood was selected by the Washington Wizards with the 20th overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was quickly traded twice, to the Orlando Magic and then to the Washington Wizards who held onto him for nine seasons. His first two seasons were with Michael Jordan and he averaged over five points, over five rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. He steadily improved his production while with the Wizards, reaching 10.6 points per game in 2007. Haywood was traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 2010 and also played for Charlotte and Cleveland over his 13 year career.
6. Popeye Jones
As one of the best players in Murray State history, Ronald “Popeye” Jones was a two time Ohio Valley Conference player of the year before he headed to the NBA in the 1992 NBA Draft. The Houston Rockets selected Jones in the second round with the 41st overall pick and traded him to the Dallas Mavericks. Before starting his NBA career with the Mavericks however, Jones played a year in Italy. He had a quiet rookie season but in his second and third seasons Jones averaged over ten points and over ten rebounds per game. The Mavericks traded Jones to the Houston Rockets in 1996 and he spent a couple of seasons there, then went to Boston and Denver for a year, before playing two years for the Wizards. His second year in Washington was his better season, averaging seven points per game. He played two more seasons with the Mavericks again, and the Warriors before retiring.
5. Chris Whitney
Over the course of his 11 seasons in the NBA, Chris Whitney averaged 6.5 points and 2.8 assists per game. His best season was with Jordan’s Wizards in 2001-02 when he was the team’s third leading scorer with over 10 points per game. The following year he played well also but was shipped to Denver during the season. Whitney played his college basketball at Clemson after two years in junior college at Lincoln Trail. He was drafted in the 1993 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs with the 47th overall pick in the second round. He was with the Spurs for two years and received minimal playing time, scoring less than two points per game. From there he went to Washington in 1995 when they were still the Bullets and remained there for seven seasons before spending time in Denver and Orlando. He returned to Washington for his final year in the NBA.
4. Larry Hughes
Over his 13 year NBA career, Larry Hughes played for eight teams. His best year was his third year with the Wizards which was after Jordan had retired for good when he averaged over 22 points, over six rebounds, and almost three steals per game. The year he played with Jordan he averaged just 12.8 points per game. Hughes played one year of college hoops with the St Louis Billikens, who he led to the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1998. He was then drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the eight overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft. He lasted less than two seasons in Philly before being traded to Golden State where he spent parts of three seasons before heading to the Wizards. He bounced around for six more seasons after he left the Wizards, with his production slowly going down. He finished his career averaging 14.1 points per game.
3. Christian Laettner
Known more for his iconic shot in the NCAA tournament against Kentucky that sent Duke to the 1992 NCAA Final Four than anything he did over his 13 years in the NBA, Christian Laettner spent four of those years with the Washington Wizards. His time with the Wizards included two seasons with Jordan. He was among the best players for the Wizards during his time there, averaging eight points and just under six rebounds per game in his time with the Wizards and was the team’s fourth leading scorer during both of Jordan’s seasons there. Laettner played one more season with the Miami Heat after he departed Washington. He finished his career with over 11,000 total points, over 900 blocks, and over 5800 rebounds.
2. Jerry Stackhouse
The best teammate on the Washington Wizards during one of Michael Jordan’s two seasons was Jerry Stackhouse. Stackhouse had led the University of North Carolina to the 1995 NCAA Final Four and was named consensus All-American that year as a sophomore. The Philadelphia 76ers then chose Stackhouse with their third overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft and it paid off as he averaged almost 20 points per game for the 76ers as a rookie. Over his 18 seasons in the NBA Stackhouse was traded a number of times and played for eight teams. His first year with the Wizards was when Jordan was there and Stackhouse and Jordan were easily the two top players on the team. Stackhouse averaged over 21 points, 4.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. It was Stackhouse’s last really good year however, as he never averaged over 15 points per game again over the final 10 seasons of his career.
1. Richard Hamilton
The best teammate on the Washington Wizards during the other one of Michael Jordan’s two seasons with the team was probably Richard “Rip” Hamilton in 2001. It was Hamilton’s third season in the NBA after a great career at the University of Connecticut where he was a consensus All-American and led the Huskies to the NCAA championship in 1999. Hamilton was chosen by the Wizards with the seventh overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. In the 2001-02 season, Hamilton was the second leading scorer (behind Jordan himself) with 20 points per game. After the season, Hamilton was traded to the Pistons for the other best player of Jordan’s time with the Wizards, Jerry Stackhouse. Hamilton stayed with Detroit for nine seasons, winning the NBA championship with the Pistons in 2004.
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