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Volume 25 No. 134
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Late Wizards Owner Abe Pollin's Widow Recalls Jordan's Dismissal In New Memoir

Irene Pollin, the widow of late Wizards Owner Abe Pollin, recently released a memoir titled "Irene & Abe: An Unexpected Life" that "examines many of the biggest moments in Washington sports history," and one of the "more notable passages comes near the end of the book ... when the Pollins began a short-lived but unforgettable partnership with Michael Jordan," according to Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST. Irene Pollin noted Jordan and Abe Pollin met after the '03 season "to renegotiate his contract," as Jordan "wanted to return as president of basketball operations" after a two-year return to playing. Jordan would have had "say on final draft choices, hirings and firings, and the formation of the roster." The following is an excerpt from the book (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 8/3).

"After many carefully thought-out meetings with senior staff and lawyers, Abe agreed to meet with Michael in his office. Knowing this would be a difficult meeting, his advisers suggested he tell Michael that he had 'decided to go in a different direction.' They felt, after reviewing his performance, they had no choice. It was not personal. They all liked and admired Michael; it was purely business."

"This was not what Michael expected. He was shocked. What followed was a heated discussion of what had and had not been promised. But after Abe repeated his decision 'to go in a different direction,' Michael lost it. He became very angry and began shouting. At that point, Abe walked out of the room as Michael called him several unflattering names. Michael stormed out of the room, went down to the parking garage, jumped into his Mercedes convertible with Illinois license plates, took the top down, and drove directly back to Chicago."

"Abe came home extremely shaken. In fact, I had never seen him so upset over team business. He never expected such a reaction. He’d always been a good negotiator. People always responded to him positively in those situations because he was 'cool' and fair. This had never happened to him. It probably was a first for Michael as well. Nobody had probably said no to him in a long time."