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'The challenges are totally different'

Jordan talks to Larry King about life after basketball

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Posted: Tuesday June 15, 1999 08:21 AM

  Jordan said he's still in contact with Scottie Pippen and Phil Jackson. AP

ATLANTA (CNN/SI) -- With the NBA Finals approaching, seeing Michael Jordan in the spotlight is nothing out of the ordinary. This time, though, it's for entirely different reasons.

Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" Monday, one of his few interviews since his retirement in January, the Chicago Bulls legend said he has had plenty of things to keep him busy in this stage of his life other than basketball.

"I still have a certain competitive attitude about the game," Jordan told King. "But I prefer in this stage of my life to stay somewhat separate from the game so the temptation is not as great. But I'm still a fan of the game."

While the Bulls struggled mightily in his absence, Jordan said he hasn't wrestled at all with his decision to retire.

But Jordan, who did attend a few NBA games this season, admitted he does miss some things about the game.

"I do miss the camaraderie a little bit," Jordan said. "But I still am in contact with Scottie Pippen. I'm still in contact with some of the guys that I played with in Chicago. That is always going to be there. [Former Bulls coach] Phil [Jackson] still calls me every now and then. I think you're never going to replace that, but the challenges are totally different."

Challenges that now include being a full-time father and businessman. Jordan has a new cologne that is scheduled to be released later this year.

However, Jordan is still selling the fact that the game he once dominated is still great, despite all of the NBA's recent turbulence.

"I think there was a lot of unfair criticism [toward the NBA]," Jordan said. "I think you have to realize that it was a shortened season and there was not really much practice and preparation for a full season.

"I think it's going to improve next season, but because of some of the expectations have been in the past quite naturally it did not live up to that. I think it will only be enhanced and improve in the years to come."

Snippets from Jordan

On why he likes being bald: It's my trademark. I couldn't imagine myself with a head full of hair. Now it's more for comfort. It's more just a routine. I like it. I prefer it.

On possibly supporting Bill Bradley's presidential bid: I love Bill Bradley. I'm learning more about his campaign as it goes further. But I do see myself supporting him. I've always respected him as a leader, but before I fully commit myself, I want to understand all the issues he's going to be campaigning under.

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