2001 NBA Draft

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On the clock

Jordan's name dominates pre-draft talk

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Posted: Tuesday June 26, 2001 5:18 PM
Updated: Wednesday June 27, 2001 6:32 PM
  Michael Jordan Michael Jordan hasn't given any indication of his plans for the No. 1 pick. Jonathan Daniel/Allsport

NEW YORK (AP) -- As 14 of the players expected to be among the first taken in Wednesday night's NBA draft gathered in a hotel ballroom, one name dominated the conversations.

Whether it was the high school stars who would soon be millionaires or the few upperclassmen set to round out the lottery, Michael Jordan was talked about for a lot of reasons.

As the man who runs the Washington Wizards, the team with the overall No. 1 pick, Jordan will get the draft started at Madison Square Garden with either a selection or a trade.

The Washington Post, citing sources close to the situation, reported Wednesday that the Wizards would use their No. 1 pick to take Kwame Brown, a 6-11 center from Brunswick, Ga..

The Wizards have looked into trading the pick in recent days, but without success.

Most of the players the NBA invited to be at the draft have worked out for Jordan and it seems, until their name is called, that would lead the list of personal highlights.

"We talked for a while," 7-foot Tyson Chandler of Compton, Calif., one of six high school seniors available in the draft, said Tuesday. "The workout was really good. It went really well."

Then Chandler was asked about what it would be like if Jordan were to make a comeback and play again in the NBA.

NBA Draft on TNT
For the 17th consecutive year, Turner Sports will present live coverage of the NBA Draft when TNT airs the 2001 Draft in its entirety, from Madison Square Garden in New York on Wednesday. TNT's draft coverage will begin at 7 p.m. (EDT) with a 30-minute preview show. The draft is scheduled to begin at approximately 7:30 p.m. 

"That would be a dream for any player of any age," he said. "If he came back it would be a great opportunity for whoever they draft."

Brown started talking about his workout for Jordan in a businesslike tone, then started sounding more like a 19-year-old.

"Everybody knew what it was for so we came in and played," Brown said. "He was really good, though. He joked around a lot. Even though he wasn't on the court with us, he still had an impact."

Each of the players interviewed Tuesday said they would love to play with Jordan, but they also said they would want to play for him as well.

"Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play the game," said Charlotte freshman Rodney White. "If you can't learn from him, who can you learn from?"

Jordan hasn't given any indication of his plans for the No. 1 pick. No high school player ever has been the overall No. 1, with Darius Miles' selection at No. 3 last year by the Los Angeles Clippers the highest one has gone.

Notre Dame junior Troy Murphy has heard the rumors that the Wizards may trade down to get more immediate help and that the two-time Big East player of the year might be the one Jordan would then choose.

"That would be an honor, definitely," Murphy said. "Just to be the guy drafted by the greatest player would be great but if he went out of his way to get you it would be something to tell for years to come."

And what about the chance to play with him?

"That would be even better," Murphy said.

The Clippers have the second choice, followed in the top 10 by Atlanta, Chicago, Golden State, Vancouver, New Jersey, Cleveland, Detroit and Boston, which also holds the 11th and 21st picks.

With the draft less than 24 hours, away there were plenty of scenarios for who would be going where.

"I thought I would know by now," Seton Hall freshman Eddie Griffin said. "I don't even think any of the teams know yet. This is a deep draft with a lot of players the same. All I know is it will make it real hard to sleep tonight."

Related information
CNNSI.com's 2001 Mock Draft
SI's Seth Davis: NBA Draft plot thickens
SI's Marty Burns: Cracked ribs won't affect MJ's trigger finger
Wizards head coach Doug Collins confirms that Michael Jordan wants the draft pick to be chosen as if he is not making a comeback. (273 K)
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