Michael Jordan

Basketball star Michael Jordan said he was shocked by the NBA Wizards' decision not to bring him back as President of Player Operations and accused the owners of being callous.

Team owner Abe Pollin met Jordan before announcing the five-time most Valuable Player would not return to the team, ending a 3-1/2 year relationship, two years as a player. "I am shocked by this decision, and by the callous refusal to offer me any justification for it," Jordan said in a statement reported on The Washington Post website.

Jordan said it was well understood that when his playing days were finished he would return as president of basketball operations. "However, without any prior discussion with me, ownership informed me that it had unilaterally decided to change our mutual long-term understanding." Jordan said in the statement.

The Washington Post reported that a Wizards source who asked not to be named listed several factors for Pollin's decision not to bring Jordan back, including Jordan's conflicts with teammates and a feeling that "relationships throughout the organisation seemed to be deteriorating."

"While the roster of talent he has assembled in Washington may not have succeeded to his and my expectations, I do believe Michael's desire to win and be successful is unquestioned," Pollin said in a statement.

"In the end, (minority owner) Ted Leonsis and I felt that this franchise should move in a different direction," he said. Personnel at the MCI Center arena, the Wizards home court, said Jordan left the building angry and in a hurry after his meeting with Pollin, The Post reported.

Jordan joined the Wizards in January 2000, but his roster moves and return to the NBA before the 2001-2002 season as a player have failed to re-energize the slumping Wizards.