First things first. Michael Jordan didn't come to D.C. in 2001 to play with the 2014-15 Wizards. He came to play with Kwame Brown instead of Nene, Brendan Haywood instead of Marcin Gortat. Chris Whitney and Courtney Alexander instead of John Wall and Bradley Beal. This was not a team ready to punch its own ticket to the playoffs and everyone knew it.
Still, this was Michael Jordan.
The Wizards sold out endless home games and were national television heavyweights, thanks to His Airness. Every moment became breathless because anything could happen. This was a legend before our eyes and his presence was pure electricity.
Still, this was not a roster built to contend in either of his years here. He bears much of the responsibility for that.
When the thrill of the moment faded, the Wizards franchise resembled a Russian city in the spring time. What was white and majestic in the winter became mud and crumbling concrete in the thaw. It was left to Ernie Grunfeld to clean up the mess with a little help from Gilbert Arenas flipping a coin.
Current Wizards owner Ted Leonsis had a front row seat to the organizational dysfunction of the Abe Pollin-Michael Jordan relationship. One may wonder how heavily it factored into the formation of the Ten Point Plan, which championed shared metrics, open discussion behind closed doors, a united public front, and a 'no jerks' policy while marrying Abe Pollin's legendary loyalty to a culture of shared accountability aimed at winning NBA championships.
Organizational goodwill continued as a hallmark of the Pollin years. Over a decade after Michael Jordan retired for good, the Wizards released valued mentor to John Wall and assistant coach Sam Cassell, allowing him to join current Clippers coach Doc Rivers in L.A., but not before the Clippers failed to orchestrate a suitable sign-and-trade for the Brooklyn Net, former Celtic great, and Rivers favorite Paul Pierce. Cassell had met Pierce in Vegas and sold him on a young Wizards squad in a healthy organization that wanted him.
News of the signing broke, shocking Wizards fans and mildly confusing everyone else. Basketball twitter responded with brief interest. Paul Pierce-Trevor Ariza comparisons abounded, Pierce asked "Why not us?", the basketball world yawned, and then there was silence.
The Verizon Center didn't sell out. The Wizards nationally televised games remained few and far between. The regular season ended on a low note. Even the diehard fans viewed a first round match up with their regular season nemesis Toronto Raptors as a recipe for heartache.
We could not know what awaited us in this postseason. Perhaps no one knew but The Truth, himself. When the thrill of the moment fades, the final chapters of The Truth's legacy will be cemented in the foundation of a new contender.
I don't know exactly what Michael Jordan came here to do. Jordan was finished writing his legacy when he came to Washington D.C. Paul Pierce, on the other hand, is not.