As much as fans try to pretend otherwise, Michael Jordan's two-year stint with the Washington Wizards happened. He didn't go out on top, hitting a game-winning shot to clinch a sixth NBA championship. Instead, he walked off the court after taking free throws against the Philadelphia 76ers in a 20-point regular season finale loss and already out of playoff contention. But as the game's greatest competitor, it had to be this way. Jordan wasn't wired for storybook endings—much like his brief attempt at professional baseball, he needed to give everything he had until there was nothing left.
That's not to say that the Wizards run was a complete bust. At ages 38 and 39, Jordan averaged 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists in two seasons. Health willing, he probably could have dragged an underwhelming Wizards team to the playoffs in 2001-02. He could still play—just not as efficient or exciting as he once did.
Beyond basketball, Jordan's return gave fans the opportunity to once again see His Airness take the floor in his iconic signature sneakers. He was able to lead the launches of Air Jordans 17 and 18 as an active player, adding some context to a part of the line that was in desperate need of it. Perhaps more importantly, he fueled a budding retro market that would eventually become the driving force behind a multi-billion dollar business.
As the "True Blue" Air Jordan 3 heads back to stores, we're taking a look at the sneakers Jordan wore during his time with the Wizards and ranking them from worst to best. Read on to see the best pairs from MJ's third act.