Jordan announced he would return for the 2002–03 season, and this time he was determined to be equipped with reinforcements, as he traded for All-Star Jerry Stackhouse and signed budding star Larry Hughes. Jordan even accepted a sixth-man role on the bench in order for his knee to survive the rigors of an 82-game season. However, a combination of numerous team injuries and uninspired play led to Jordan’s return to the starting lineup, where he tried to rebound the franchise from its early-season struggles. The move led to mixed results, as several of Jordan’s younger teammates complained about playing in Jordan’s shadow and his unfair expectations of them. By the end of the season, the Wizards finished with a 37-45 record once again. Jordan ended the season as the only Wizard to play in all 82 games, as he averaged 20.0 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.5 steals in 37.0 minutes per game.
After the season, Wizards' majority owner Abe Pollin fired Jordan as team president, much to the shock of teammates, associates, and the public. Michael Jordan felt he was betrayed, thinking that he would get his ownership back after his playing days ended, but Pollin justified Jordan's dismissal by noting that Jordan had detrimental effects on the team, such as benching Larry Hughes for Tyronn Lue, making poor trades, and squandering the teams' 2001 1st round draft pick on high schooler Kwame Brown who never panned out. Without Michael in the fold the following year, the Washington Wizards were not expected to win, and they didn’t. Despite the signing of future All-Star point guard Gilbert Arenas, which had been made possible by Jordan's previous cap-clearing maneuvers as a team executive, the team stumbled to a 25-57 record in the 2003-04 season.
Jordan's stint with the Washington Wizards was closely watched by both fans and the media. While the team failed to qualify for the playoffs in either of Jordan’s two seasons as a player, the team was competitive and sold out arenas around the league.
The Wizards replaced Jordan's managerial role with General Manager Ernie Grunfeld. Though the organization fielded a competitive team built around Gilbert Arenas for several years, the team has again stumbled into the lower echelon of the league in recent years.