Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Air Again? Jordan Return to Bulls Is on, Source Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Air Again? Jordan Return to Bulls Is on, Source Says

Article excerpt

Michael Jordan, estranged from the sport he adopted, is returning to the game he once ruled, a source told The Associated Press on Thursday night.

"He's done with baseball," said the source, speaking on the condition he not be identified. "He's going to play basketball."

Jordan practiced again with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday, the third consecutive day he appeared at team headquarters, and soon will trade in his baseball spikes for a new pair of Air Jordans.

"It won't be tonight, tomorrow or the next day," the source said. "But it will be soon. . . . He's going to take a couple of weeks to tune up."

Jordan retired suddenly about a month before the 1993-94 National Basketball Association season. Though he has stayed in shape playing baseball, he "wants to make sure he's near the top of his game," the source said.

ESPN also reported Thursday night that Jordan is returning. The cable television network, citing a "reliable" but unidentified source, said he will come back, but not for a couple of weeks. ESPN said Jordan is intent on being in good shape and wants to dicuss the future of the Bulls with team management.

It was unclear how Jordan would fit under the Bulls' salary cap. He has two years remaining on a contract reportedly paying him $4 million a year.

"He won't rush back to improve the (team's) playoff position," the source told the AP. "It doesn't matter to him as much whether they play the No. 1 or 2 seed as whether he's in real good shape."

Earlier Thursday, Bulls coach Phil Jackson talked about the prospect of Jordan's return.

"We just have to hang tight here and wait to see what goes on," Jackson said. "He and I spoke about this possibility happening last September and October. It's a reality . . . but it's still not a reality. So we're not pinning any hopes and we're not trying to throw up a balloon or a kite that's not ready to fly."

After the Bulls' two-hour practice Thursday, Jordan drove off in his Range Rover without comment. And spokesmen for the Bulls, the Chicago White Sox and Jordan's agent said no announcement was forthcoming.

Jackson said the distraction of Jordan's possible return made it tough for the Bulls to remain focused, but might help energize a lethargic team. …

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