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Michael Jordan’s abrasive reaction to being fired by the Wizards revealed in owner’s wife’s memoir

Michael Jordan

When Michael Jordan retired for the third time, he assumed that he would be able to return to his previously held position in the Washington Wizards’ front office as Director of Basketball Operations.

His previous stint in that role had produced below par results, which meant that he wasn’t welcomed back when he finished playing. Then-Wizards owner Abe Pollin fired Jordan, much to the basketball legend’s dismay.

In her new book, Pollin’s widow Irene recalls the fallout between her late husband and Michael Jordan. Below is an excerpt, via Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post.

“After many carefully thought-out meetings with senior staff and lawyers, Abe agreed to meet with Michael in his office. Knowing this would be a difficult meeting, his advisers suggested he tell Michael that he had ‘decided to go in a different direction.’ They felt, after reviewing his performance, they had no choice. It was not personal. They all liked and admired Michael; it was purely business.

This was not what Michael expected. He was shocked. What followed was a heated discussion of what had and had not been promised. But after Abe repeated his decision ‘to go in a different direction,’ Michael lost it. He became very angry and began shouting. At that point, Abe walked out of the room as Michael called him several unflattering names. Michael stormed out of the room, went down to the parking garage, jumped into his Mercedes convertible with Illinois license plates, took the top down, and drove directly back to Chicago.

Abe came home extremely shaken. In fact, I had never seen him so upset over team business. He never expected such a reaction. He’d always been a good negotiator. People always responded to him positively in those situations because he was ‘cool’ and fair. This had never happened to him. It probably was a first for Michael as well. Nobody had probably said no to him in a long time.”

If Michael Jordan cannot walk into any job in basketball, I think it’s safe to say nobody can.

Whilst the story highlights just how badly MJ dealt with the decision, it is understandable that after agreeing to take a pay-cut to play for the organization, he would be a little upset.

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