Speaking to the L.A. Times, Leslie Jordan was always good for a sassy one-liner. And when he was fired by the Lakers after 16 seasons on the job, he gave the paper a new one in his final exit interview.
Jordan sat down with reporters after the Lakers released him on Dec. 2 and told them he considered coming out of retirement to try to get one last shot in the NBA.
“I wasn’t going to retire,” Jordan told the site. “I was going to play another 15 or 20 years and have a nice life when my kids were grown and went off to college. I’ve been to college, I’ve done everything that college students can do. I’m not retiring, but I don’t want to play anymore. I don’t want to go back and have to go through the same thing all over again. I don’t want to do it on the basketball court.”
The Lakers are expected to bring in several free-agent big men as well as a potential franchise-tagged PG this offseason. But, per Jordan’s comments to the Times, he is ready to play elsewhere.
“I’m looking for something else,” Jordan told the paper. “I just want to get out of the NBA. I don’t want to go back so much I can hardly walk. I want to retire in a hospital bed, on a stretcher, all of that stuff. My whole body would hurt like heck. So, I’m looking for something else.”
Jordan said he recently told Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss he wanted to hang up his skates, but the Lakers owner didn’t want to hear it.
“It’s not going to happen,” Buss said. “He’ll be back here soon enough.”
Jordan, 59, joined the L.A. Lakers in 1989 and played his last game in a Lakers uniform on Jan. 27, 2002, playing the final 18 minutes of a 120-107 win over the Utah Jazz.
From 1992-2004, Jordan, a 7-footer he’s said can “crawl through walls,” led the Lakers to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances. The L.A. club lost to the Houston Rockets in 1988 and to the Boston Celtics in 1990.