- The Washington Times - Monday, January 20, 2003

Dr. Aaron McKie was permitted to conduct what appeared to be a prostate gland examination on Michael Jordan with about one minute left on Fun Street Saturday night, in the impending medical malpractice lawsuit between the Wizards and 76ers.
This unusual action on a basketball floor received the American Medical Association's stamp of approval from the three Hans Blix-like inspectors: Don Vaden, Michael Henderson and Leroy Richardson. They did not see a thing, not Dr. McKie's stethoscope, surgical mask or rubber glove.
The outcome of the game was in doubt at the time of Dr. McKie's unscheduled procedure, the Wizards down four points as Jordan labored to receive the ball from Tyronn Lue on the right side of the floor.
The momentum was with the Wizards, once down 14 points in the fourth quarter and due to receive the next quick whistle.
The previous quick whistle had gone to Dr. McKie after a jumper by Jordan had closed the deficit to two points with 1:26 left. The guilty party was Jordan, who acknowledged his guilt to Richardson with the expectation that it would bode in his favor at the other end of the floor. Dr. McKie hit two free throws to push the margin back to four points, and the Wizards looked to respond in kind.
Lue, in a hurry to dump the ball to Jordan, appeared to be frazzled by Dr. McKie's R-rated crimes against Jordan's humanity. The three referees appeared to be on coffee break, Washington's leading pastime.
Lue threw the ball anyway, and the ball went one way, Jordan the other, and the 76ers gained possession.
To be fair to the three referees, perhaps they were thinking of Jordan's long-term health. Jordan is nearing the age of male dread, after all. He turns 40 next month.
"I thought I got fouled," Jordan said. "But that's a player's thought, and that's a loser's thought, too."
Another frustrating sequence ensued as Dr. McKie again tried to score in the vicinity of Jordan and was rewarded with an additional two free throws with 34 seconds left. The contact, if any, was minimal, and certainly not worthy of a whistle after Dr. McKie's highly personal assault on Jordan's being.
Understandably, with the game slipping away, Jordan raced to Richardson after the last quick whistle and pulled on the top of his jersey, which is how Jordan often begins the communication process with referees. He stretches the top of his jersey to his mouth and then talks through it. This time, though, Jordan resisted the urge to communicate by jersey and left his protest to a few words.
Dr. McKie hit both free throws, the 76ers went up by six points, and that was the game, courtesy of the inconsistencies of the three arbiters.
Even rapper Busta Rhymes, a philosopher who traffics in the horror of it all, decided enough was enough at that point and left the house.
This is how it sometimes goes in the NBA. You go to an NBA game and an unsettling pattern of inequity breaks out. You see two free throws, a prostate gland examination and two more free throws in a span of 37 seconds, and the issue is decided in an unpleasing manner.
Dr. McKie's employment of the Hippocratic oath was not all there was to the game. The Wizards could cite their flaws as well as those of the three officials.
The Wizards committed 18 turnovers, made only 11 of 20 free throw attempts and endured long stretches of anemia on offense, as was the case against the temps the Raptors picked up on loan from 7-Eleven last week.
It did not help that Larry Hughes was limited to 26 minutes because of the flu and did not play in the fourth quarter, the bookend to Jerry Stackhouse sitting out his third game in a row with a pulled groin.
Jordan inspired the comeback with the supporting cast of rookie Juan Dixon, second-year players Kwame Brown and Brendan Haywood and Lue, the first time the future of the franchise has been solicited to close a game this season.
Jordan nearly pulled off the improbable, and might have pulled it off if granted the same latitude as Dr. McKie.
It is funny how it works.
Jordan seemingly used to get all the calls in his championship seasons with the Bulls. Now he sometimes can't get an obvious call at home against a mid-level player who was all too obvious.
Dr. McKie's black bag was the giveaway.


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