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If only we could all be like Mike


April 27, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

If only we could all be like Mike.

It certainly must be nice to be Mr. Jordan. Let's see, first you have more money than you'll ever be able to spend. Second, you are part owner and president of an NBA franchise. This position allows you to play around with the team as much (or as little) as you want to and when you get bored of that … Well, you make the sporting world's collective tongues wag by announcing you've been working out and are considering a return to the sport that made you famous. Don't you all wish we had Mike's problems?

The possible return of Jordan certainly is an interesting subject. It is hard for anyone to argue when he left he was the best player in the game, not to mention the best player the game had ever seen. This immediately makes me wonder whether he can return (at an age when most players are retiring or already retired) and play at such a level that he could lead another team to an NBA championship.


And that's the key, really. Most people probably wonder whether Jordan could come back and score 25 to 30 points a night. I say he could. You might wonder whether he could come back and play the stifling defense for which he hardly ever got enough credit. Again, I think he could. Still others probably wonder whether he could return to the game and dazzle spectators with all sorts of rim-rattling dunks. To that I say probably not. After all, he wasn't exactly Air Jordan when he retired, was he?

These questions are all well and good, but they are not questions about the reason Jordan is pondering this return. No, he's coming back to win, pure and simple.

It is for this reason I can't see him signing with the Wizards. I also don't see him playing for Doug Collins. Didn't Jordan get Collins fired back when they were together in Chicago? That just seems like a combo that won't happen.

If Jordan wants to win, it seems like his best bet would be to sign on with old coach Phil Jackson and the Lakers, but can anyone imagine Mike wearing those ugly Laker colors? Mike and Shaq would certainly make a dominating duo, but that makes me wonder about what would happen to Kobe. He'd probably whine, pout, sulk and shoot way too many out-of-control shots for Jordan's liking and end up being traded away. So there you have your answer to that question — M.J.'s not coming to resurrect Showtime.

This leaves me to wonder, just where he would play? I can't imagine him playing anywhere except Chicago, but he left that place on bad terms. He said he'd never play for Bulls head coach Tim Floyd and he certainly can't expect to win with all those baby Bulls.

This leaves the entire rest of the NBA, but I can't imagine Jordan playing for any of those teams. He could join Scottie Pippen in Portland, but I don't see that. There's the big no to L.A., no to Chicago, maybe a trip to New York to be a Knick. I doubt it.

One interesting scenario would be for Jordan to go to Toronto and play with Vince Carter. His Air-ness and the Air-apparent. It would make for good headlines, anyway.

While all this talk has swelled up about Jordan, another old pro's name popped up this week and that was Charles Barkley. He said he'd come back, but only to play alongside Jordan. It was when Barkley made his announcement that I finally figured out just what needed to happen.

Jordan and Barkley should start their own team. Yes, I know you probably think I'm crazy, but I'm not. They could sign a bunch of old free agents (Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon, Pippen etc.) and this group could pick any city in the world to call it's home and that place would be glad to have them.

Then we could watch as this group of unretired all-stars made its assault on the youth movement of the NBA. It certainly would be a lot more entertaining than the show the NBA's putting on now.

And just think, it would give another generation of children the chance to want to be like Mike.

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