OTD: Michael Jordan's emotional standing ovation before final game in Chicago

OTD: Michael Jordan's emotional standing ovation before final game in Chicago originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

On Jan. 24, 2003, Michael Jordan told Bulls management he didn't want to be honored on the court before his final NBA game in Chicago.

But when the United Center PA announcer belted Jordan's iconic intro — despite the fact that he was starting at guard for the opposing Washington Wizards — the crowd couldn't possibly oblige. Jordan was set to retire after the 2002-03 season. And after the Bulls dynasty was unceremoniously dismantled in 1998, this was fans' first and last chance to say goodbye.


What followed was a standing ovation that lasted four minutes. Around the three-minute mark, Jordan decided to address the fans who traveled near and far to watch him play one last game in the house he built.

"It's truly been a pleasure," Jordan said after grabbing a microphone and walking to center court. "You guys have given me great pleasure to play here in Chicago. Still support the Chicago Bulls, and thanks for supporting me over all the years. I love you all very much."

The Bulls played a video tribute during a second-quarter timeout, which prompted another standing ovation.

"The fans have always treated me great," Jordan said before the game. "This is where everything began. This is not Chicago Stadium, but it's Chicago.

"I wish, in all honesty, that things don't have to come to an end, but they do."

Jordan scored 11 points with five rebounds and three assists en route to a 104-97 Wizards loss.

"We both had a chance to say goodbye," he said after the game. "Let's move on to the rest of the season and move on in life.

"I still will be here in Chicago,'' he said. "My heart is always here.''

Click here to follow the Bulls Talk Podcast.