Now that the NBA season has come to an end in Washington (early, as usual), permit me to articulate two brief opinions: one, about the retirement of Michael Jordan's Wizards jersey. And two, about the retirement of all Wizards jerseys.
I'm for one.
Against the other.
The Wizards shouldn't retire Jordan's No. 23. Not because he isn't a great player -- he's such a great player, he was even a great player here, in his final days. It was a joy to see him play. But he's not ours. He's Chicago's. We rented him for two years. He's like a sublet.
Did the Kansas City Chiefs retire Joe Montana's number? Did the San Diego Chargers retire Johnny Unitas's number? When someone says "Joe Montana," does anybody in his right mind think: "Kansas City"? Oh, please. Michael Jordan came here at the end of his career, like a gift. Leave it like that. Remember the unexpected pleasure he brought with him. But don't hang that No. 23 from the rafters next to players who you automatically and indelibly associate with this franchise.
What the Wizards should do instead is make a plaque that says something like "Michael Jordan Played Here, In Washington, D.C., as a beloved member of the Wizards, 2001-2003." Then you take that plaque and place it literally on the court, on the side near the Wizards' bench, and then seal it in clear plastic so everyone can read it; even the players as they run by. That's how you honor Michael Jordan's time here -- by making it absolutely special and unique.
While we're on the subject of retiring jerseys, hasn't it been obvious this last week that those old school, thick-striped, red-and-white Bullets jerseys are fabulous? Isn't it obvious that they're far better than those motley Wizards jerseys? Isn't it about time Abe Pollin reconsider the name Wizards, and change the team back to the original Bullets? Nobody associates the name "Washington Bullets" with gun violence. It's a basketball team, not a geopolitical statement. Lighten up, and change it back.
One last thing: Stop making Kwame Brown the scapegoat for everything that goes wrong here. It's always him. Every disdainful comment about the "young players" always gets around to Kwame. That's not fair. It's not like he's the only one who didn't measure up. It's not like he's the only one who got angry at Doug Collins, or was intimidated by Michael Jordan. Other guys stunk. And other guys pouted. Why is Kwame the one who seems to always get dumped on?
Kwame was in high school when the Wizards picked him No. 1. Michael Jordan knew Kwame wouldn't be able to help the team win for years. And still, with all their new scouts, and all their new front office guys, the Wizards drafted Kwame Brown No. 1. He turned 21 last month, for heaven's sake. So the team doesn't make the playoffs, and now it's all his fault? You mean to tell me if Kwame was better the Wizards would win the championship? Give me a break.
Have a nice day.