updated 04/15/2003 AT 1:00 AM ET
•originally published 04/15/2003 AT 11:55 AM ET
Michael Jordan received an American flag from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Monday night, as the basketball legend played his final NBA home game at Washington, D.C.’s MCI Center.
Though the evening ended in yet another defeat for Jordan’s current team, the Washington Wizards – which lost 93-79 to the New York Knicks – the night was historic.
Although Jordan, 40, did not address the crowd before leaving the court, The Washington Post considered the evening a tribute to Jordan from pregame to postgame.
At the start, Rumsfeld received a loud ovation before presenting Jordan with a flag that flew over the Pentagon on the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Jordan and Rumsfeld then shook hands and chatted briefly, and Jordan cradled the flag in his right hand, with his head bowed, as the national anthem played.
After the game, reports AP, Wizards owner Abe Pollin donated 50 computers to each of Washington’s 18 public high schools. The computer labs will be named after Jordan.
Jordan himself tried not to make a big deal out of the game, having told AP during Monday morning’s shootaround: “It’s just another night, really … I know that this is my last home game in Washington, D.C., and that is something I definitely will treasure, but I woke up this morning, and I thought that there was this certain feeling that I should be feeling.”
And did he? Said Jordan: “I had breakfast, coffee, did my normal stuff – and nothing seems out of the ordinary.”