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Jordan waits

Announcement of return on hold in wake of attacks

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Posted: Friday September 14, 2001 11:10 AM
Updated: Friday September 14, 2001 5:51 PM
  Michael Jordan Michael Jordan will look to uphold his tradition of lighting up the Cavs, but as a member of the Wizards. Jonathan Daniel/Allsport

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Forget about a big news conference announcing Michael Jordan's return. Word is more likely to come via fax.

Jordan is now in no rush to announce his decision on playing again in the NBA and plans for a major media appearance have been all but shelved in the aftermath of Tuesday's terrorist attacks.

It was expected that a news conference would be held Sept. 20, but Jordan apparently felt such a spectacle would be inappropriate.

A source close to Jordan, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed a report in Friday's Washington Post that Jordan's announcement will be more low-key.

Word probably will come via fax, although the means and time are still being determined, the source said.

Jordan has come out of retirement via fax before. In March 1995, he announced his return to the Chicago Bulls with a two-word bulletin: "I'm back!"

Knowing that Jordan could call at any time, the Washington Wizards' staff has been ready for weeks to stage a news conference at the MCI Center with just a few hours' notice.

The day before Tuesday's attacks, Jordan's comeback was the sporting talk of the nation's capital. He strongly indicated Monday in a discussion with three reporters in Chicago that he would return from his three-year retirement and play for the Wizards, saying he was doing it "for the love of the game."

It remains all but certain that he will make his intentions known before Oct. 2, when the Wizards are scheduled to begin training camp in Wilmington, N.C.

Jordan's late decision has led to numerous uncertainties within the organization. Coach Doug Collins doesn't yet know whether one of the game's greatest players will be on his roster. The team's media guide is on hold as the public relations staff waits to hear whether to include several pages on Jordan among the biographies.

The Wizards have experienced a surge in season ticket sales. More than 12,000 have been sold, yet there are about 8,000 more available that could go in a hurry if Jordan decides to suit up.

Jordan, the team's president of basketball operations, would also need to sell his ownership stake in the Wizards if he played. Much of the paperwork has already been done to make that process go swiftly.

Jordan stayed in Chicago this week, where he has been training at a local gym for several months. He was scheduled to attend a charity dinner and golf tournament in Minnesota this weekend, but that event was canceled.


 
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