Michael Jordan Jersey in Miami: A Classic NBA WTF | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Michael Jordan Jersey in Miami: A Classic NBA WTF

Updated: May 4, 2009


Seems like I’ve heard about it before, but maybe I didn’t think much of it at the time, or just forgot, as it occurred way back in 2003, before the ‘blogging era’.

But there I found myself, coming home to an on television Friday night, checking out game six of an incredibly boring Heat-Hawks series.

Dan Marino was courtside, ESPN showed his retired jersey in the rafters. Little curious to see it hanging in a basketball arena, but okay … I’ll go with it.

I once ate at Dan Marino’s steakhouse in the gloriously classy Hooters Hotel & Casino in Vegas … or is it delightfully tacky, yet unrefined? In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Marino’s steakhouse. Plus, you gotta give the guy credit for going from the prince of coal mining country to the king of South Beach … the equivalent to Biggie Smalls going ashy to classy.

But just to the right of Marino’s jersey, there it was, red Chicago #23. Huh? None of the announcers could really explain why Michael Jordan‘s jersey was retired to the rafters. Jeff Van Gundy seemed to angrily mutter about it being unacceptable to have your opponent’s jersey retired.

So what’s the story? In ’03 Pat Riley decided to retire Jordan’s jersey in Miami, saying, “No one will ever wear No. 23 for the Miami Heat.” Also according to the SI.com story, the jersey was half-blue for the Wizards and half-red for Chicago … doesn’t seem to be the case now, all red.

Now, Jeff Van Gundy could be a bit bitter for what Riley did in conveniently replacing his brother, Stan Van Gundy, to win a championship with the Heat.

But still, JVG is right … you retire the jersey and number of a player who beat your team time and time again? Jordan went 30-8 against the Heat in the regular season, only scoring below 18 points twice (both times in single digits)—and both times when MJ was with the Wizards — and 10-1 against Miami in the playoffs. Not only that, Jordan’s number 23 was the first jersey to be retired in Miami.

I don’t care if Jordan was the “greatest”—Miami putting a red Chicago Bulls jersey in the rafters is an absolute disgrace. If you’re a Wizards fan, could you imagine one day retiring LeBron James‘ jersey in Chinatown, DC? I shudder at the thought with disgust.

Kobe’s jersey in San Antonio? Duncan’s jersey in Phoenix? I think not.

I already wasn’t a huge fan of the Heat franchise, as they’ve beaten up on the Wizards a good bit, but because of this, they’ve just lost a great deal of respect from me.

Will the Miami Heat lose any sleep over this? I doubt it. But at least my home arena doesn’t have the jersey of a man who used to torch us hanging from the ceiling as a cruel reminder. Nope, I’ll stick with the embarrassment of WNBA “Attendance Champion” banners hanging in the Verizon Center.

Kyle Weidie on EmailKyle Weidie on GoogleKyle Weidie on InstagramKyle Weidie on LinkedinKyle Weidie on TwitterKyle Weidie on Youtube
Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • David J. Verjano

    I think it was Pat Riley’s idea to hand Jordan’s jersey up. It’s similar to the Jackie Robinson situation in the MLB, except he broke the race barrier. To be the devil’s advocate, Riley would argue that Jordan was so great that nobody in his organization deserves to wear the number 23 – it’s a show of respect. He does not care for the fact that Jordan and the Bulls beat Miami quite a bit, he’s focused on the legend that he left behind. He just wants to honor the man.

    You might not agree with it, but as a loyal Heat fan I don’t care much for it. It does not bother me one bit, neither does the Marino jersey. I just love sports in general and not the type to hold too many grudges.

  • MrBill11

    It’s not like the Bulls and the Heat are huge rivals. Sure, they played twice in playoffs the last few years, but when Jordan was playing? The Heat were just happy to be in the playoffs two of those times.

    So no, this isn’t the Wizards retiring LeBron’s number, b/c Wizards fan HATES LeBron. Heat fans, we didn’t hate Jordan. Now, if Riley tried to retire John Starks’ 3 or Rasheed’s 30… THEN we’d have a situation on our hands.

    Besides, we retired the longtime trainers smock… It’s right up there next to Mourning’s 33… THAT’S a bad banner.

  • Anonymous

    There is only one acceptable case where you can retire a jersey from a player that never played on your team, i.e. if the league retires the players number.

  • Anonymous

    I love Jordan and have much respect for him, However I am from New York and that nonsense would never happen here. That is just stupid Riley…

  • Jbuggy

    That is all class, there is nothing fake with Riley. He can do that because he is only showing him respect. He is the first to officially and publicly retire that number out of respect. So why does Lebron want to do the same, because the greats recognize greatness.

  • emo kid

    this isnt what i wanted i wanted to know why Michael cared what number he wore thats it

  • deeonli1

    michael jordan resides in Miami
    and is a close neighbor abd golfing buddy it was a sign of respect , jordan also contributes to the team(financially)as part of an owners group

  • Benny J

    if it was anyone BUT pat riley making this decision, it would be ridiculous. this is just greatness recognizing greatness.

  • Editor Wannabe

    While I agree with everything you said, you lost me on the fact that you cannot spell “lose”.

    I just loosed all respect for you.

  • johnny

    haha editor wannabe, you said it perfect.

  • art peterson

    loose hahah

  • Edited.

    Thanks bitches.


    The author.

  • maw

    Damn you blogosphere! You have murdered journalism! Now anyone can write poorly constructed articles from their basements like this wanker!

  • woww, ive watched many heat games and I’ve never seen Jordan’s jersey hanging, I’d be shocked to see it actually…Is this why ‘Bron changed his #??? WOW, his decision was made a long time ago..

  • Terrell

    Problem with your article: Riley was nowhere near Miami in 1993. He was still coaching NYC. And to the guy who said nothing like this would happen in NYC, who cares? The Knicks are not a valuable franchise in terms of championships won and league history. The most valuable franchise in league history is LA, followed by Boston, Chicago then San Antonio. Win some titles and we can include the Knicks. Until then, you’re right down there with the Sonics. They won in the 70’s, were competitive in the 90’s and are non-existent today as well.