Hang Up and Listen

The Last Last Dance

What Michael Jordan’s final chapter as a Washington Wizard reveals about him as a player and a person.


Episode Notes

How did Michael Jordan end up in Washington, D.C.? Why couldn’t he make the Washington Wizards into winners? And what did the final chapter of Jordan’s career reveal about who he really was?

On this special episode of Hang Up and Listen: the little-remembered story of Michael Jordan post-Chicago, when the ultimate champion’s strengths turned into weaknesses.

This episode of Hang Up and Listen was produced by Joel Anderson and Melissa Kaplan. Sophie Summergrad is our assistant producer.

Sources for This Episode


Leahy, Michael. When Nothing Else Matters, Simon & Schuster, 2004.


Aldridge, David. “Vince did the wrong thing by giving in,” ESPN.com, Feb. 13, 2003.

Aldridge, David. “Jordan’s comeback was worthwhile for Wiz,” ESPN.com, April 15, 2003.

Alexander, Rachel. “Pollin Sells Capitals to AOL Executive,” Washington Post, May 13, 1999.

Bohlen, William. “Michael Jordan was one of the best stimulus packages D.C. has ever seen,” Chicago Tribune, March 8, 2002.

Bunn, Curtis. “Calm before the NBA storm,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 20, 2001.

Heath, Thomas and Steve Wyche. “The Wizards’ Uneasy Alliance,” Washington Post, May 11, 2003.

Jenkins, Sally. “Growing Pains,” Washington Post, April 11, 2002.

Kennedy, Alex. “Kwame Brown opens up about his NBA career, facing criticism, Michael Jordan and more,” Hoops Hype, June 2, 2017.

Leahy, Michael. “The Loneliest Wizard,” Washington Post, Feb. 11, 2001.

Leahy, Michael. “Transition Game,” Washington Post, Nov. 3, 2001.

Leahy, Michael. “Gambling Man,” Washington Post, June 14, 2002.

Leahy, Michael. “All the King’s Men,” Washington Post, June 8, 2003.

Reilly, Rick. “The Third Coming?” Sports Illustrated, March 19, 2001.

Steinberg, Dan. “Why Abe Pollin went from Bullets to Wizards,” Washingtonpost.com, Feb. 2, 2010.

Wilbon, Michael. “Pollin Clears the Air, But Muddies the Waters,” Washington Post, May 8, 2003.

Wise, Mike. “Jordan Lifts Wizards, and his M.V.P. Bid,” New York Times, Jan. 13, 2002.

Wise, Mike. “Jordan’s Strained Ties to Wizards Might Be Cut,” New York Times, May 4, 2003.

Wright, Teneshia L. “Growing into His New Job Flush with Cash and Celebrity, the Brunswick, Ga., Hoop Star Adjusts to Life with the NBA’s Red-Hot Washington Wizards,” Florida Times-Union, Dec. 23, 2001.

Wyche, Steve. “Jordan Joins Wizards’ Front Office,” Washington Post, Jan. 20, 2000.

Wyche, Steve. “Jordan Makes It Official: He’s a Wizard,” Washington Post, Sept. 26, 2001.

Hehir, Jason. The Last Dance, ESPN Films and Netflix, 2000.

Michael Jordan’s Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech,” Sept. 11, 2009.

Slate Plus Member Content Bonus Episode

After the Dance

A conversation about Michael Jordan’s tenure with the Washington Wizards.


About the Show

A weekly sports discussion show from Slate. Hang Up and Listen features Slate personalities Joel Anderson, Stefan Fatsis, and Josh Levin.

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  • Joel Anderson is a staff writer at Slate and the host of Seasons 3 and 6 of Slow Burn. Previously, he worked as a reporter on sports, culture, and politics for ESPN and BuzzFeed News.