The Wizards’ season is over. And while there will certainly be reflections on said season to come, sometimes you gotta look way back on the franchise’s history via the basketball cards I collected when my fandom was being cultivated by the early 90s Washington Bullets.
One Summer Don MacLean worked so hard that his game improved with increased confidence. Well, at least that’s what this fake headline Upper Deck card says after he won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award in 1993-94, his second season in the league.
After being drafted out of UCLA by the Detroit Pistons with the 19th overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft, MacLean was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Clippers with William Bedford for Olden Polynice and two second round picks. But MacLean didn’t stay in his Los Angeles hometown for long. In early October he was sent back East, again with Bedford, to the Washington Bullets for John “Hot Plate” Williams. Bedford was immediately waived by the Bullets while MacLean spent the first three years of his career in DC.
People used to call MacLean a gym rat. In November of 2000 as a member of the Miami Heat, MacLean became the first player to be suspended under the NBA’s steroid policy, which was in its second season of testing. As a result, Charles Barkley famously said, “I’ve seen Don MacLean naked, and he doesn’t use steroids.” The two never played together, but were both in the 1999 Houston Rockets training camp.