By Wizards guard Michael Jordan, that following this season he will retire from the NBA for the third time and resume his role as part owner of the team. Jordan, 39, who quit the Chicago Bulls for two years in the early 1990s to attempt a pro baseball career, retired for the second time on Jan. 13, 1999, and said he was "99.9 percent" sure he would not return. He came back to play for Washington on Sept. 25, 2001, and now says there is "zero chance" he will continue beyond this year. "After this there will be no want," he says. Jordan, who won five MVPs, six championships and 10 scoring titles with the Bulls, is averaging 16.4 points per game, 40th in the league. The Wizards, who were traditionally at the bottom of the NBA in attendance, have sold out all 50 home games they've played since Jordan's return.
Of lung cancer, former North Dakota University hockey goalie and real estate magnate Ralph L. Engelstad, 72, who in 1998 donated more than $100 million to his alma mater. The gift went primarily to a hockey arena that opened last year on the Grand Forks campus and bears Engelstad's name. Many in the area objected because Engelstad collected Nazi memorabilia; he later threatened to stop construction of the arena if the school went ahead with plans to change its nickname from Fighting Sioux (SI, Oct. 8, 2001), which some saw as offensive. The state's board of education stepped in and ruled that the nickname would stand.
Guests at the Willie McGinest Celebrity Ball, a charity fund-raiser hosted by the Patriots linebacker in Revere, Mass. For the second time in four years McGinest's Thanksgiving jam—which raises money for Ronald McDonald House—ended in violence, as about 40 police officers stormed Club Skyline at Wonderland Greyhound Park to break up a fight involving 300 people. Police said the trouble stemmed from tension over long coat-check lines.
By the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, to improve its wagering, communication and security systems in the wake of the Breeders' Cup Pick-Six scandal, Giuliani Partners, the consulting firm headed by former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. In addition to looking at Pick-Four and Pick-Six betting procedures, Giuliani's firm—which is being paid more than $1 million—will supervise an evaluation of racing's nationwide network of wagering sites, which process more than $14 billion a year.
On charges he stole a blank check and then received $3,500 after the check was cashed by a friend, Adrian McPherson, 19, Florida State's former starting quarterback. According to police, McPherson, a sophomore who has been suspended indefinitely from the football team, took the check from R&R Truck and Auto Accessories in Tallahassee and gave it to Melvin Capers Jr., a former football teammate at Southeast High in Bradenton, Fla. Capers was charged with passing the check at a bank. McPherson, who spent about an hour in jail before posting $1,500 bail, denies he forged or received any money from the check. He and Capers, who also disputes the charges, await a court date.
That 6'5" Lennox Lewis will defend his heavyweight title against Ukraine's 6'8" Vitali Klitschko, 31, in February or March in the U.S. Lewis, 37 hopes to make the fight part of a package that will include a rematch with Mike Tyson and a bout with Klitschko's brother Wladimir, 26. Last month Vitali (32-1, 31 KOs) knocked out Larry Donald in Germany to win the WBA International title (above right). Lewis had been weighing retirement since KO'ing Tyson in June, but his manager Adrian Ogun said Lewis "is still hungry." Last year Lewis (40-2-1, 31 KOs) said he would like to eat one Klitschko for breakfast and the other for lunch.