Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NBA Likely Would Allow Jordan Back

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

NBA Likely Would Allow Jordan Back

Article excerpt

The 27 members of the NBA Board of Governors have proven they can be coldhearted when they want to, but clearheaded when they have to. Which would it be if Michael Jordan asked back into basketball this season?

A note of caution before proceeding: What follows is total speculation. Jordan has said nothing that would indicate a desire to return, now or in the foreseeable future.

That disclaimer aside, the road back may be cluttered with fewer obstacles than even he dared imagine.

After he announced his retirement Oct. 6 and filed the appropriate paperwork, the league office informed Jordan he'd need unanimous approval from the board for reinstatement this season. And in his last public statement on the matter, Jordan, reiterating he won't be back, said more than one of the 27 would have to be more than a little crazy to cast an affirmative ballot.

They just might be.

A sampling taken over the few weeks since Jordan quit reveals not one voter has said he would do what no one in the NBA has been able to do so far: Stop Jordan.

"Most people will tell you, absolutely, they'd let him back in," Bob Whitsett, president and general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics, said Thursday. "And that's because it's still hypothetical and `yes' is the right public-relations answer.

"Well, I won't say we would. But I'm not saying we wouldn't, either."

In statements for public consumption, New York Knicks President Dave Checketts, whose Eastern Conference title dreams have been dashed by Jordan more times than he cares to remember, perched alongside Whitsett on the fence.

"My official statement is I don't know if we'll face that situation, so I can't say what we'll do," he said. "I'll say this, though. Everybody expects me to stand up and say, `No. Under no circumstances.' I won't do that."

"We'd have to examine a lot of things, such as whether Chicago used his salary slot to get another top-flight player. …

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