Boardrooms Not Backboards

    The rumor is on the lips of basketball fans everywhere. “”SportsCenter”” broadcasts daily updates, presenting different opinions from ex-players, owners, basketball executives, all the way down to the cheerleaders.

    “”Michael Jordan is coming back,”” they whisper. The words spread like wildfire through classrooms, offices and bars across the nation, fueled by children and adults, men and women, janitors and executives alike.

    On every sports show, the rumor comes before the basketball playoff race, the hockey scores, the baseball highlights, even before the death of Willie Stargell.

    “”The king is coming. His Airness is gonna return.””

    Yes, that’s right, unless you’ve been locked in your basement with your head up your ass for the last week you know it is rumored that Jordan is coming back to play for the Washington Wizards next year.

    According to reports, Jordan will join Charles Barkley, who is also coming out of retirement. Even Chris Webber recently said he wouldn’t mind going to Washington to play with Jordan.

    And monkeys might fly out of my butt.

    If Jordan came back today, there’s no doubt that he would have a positive impact on any team he plays for.

    His leadership, coupled with the type of players he would attract to the Wizards, could do wonders for the struggling Washington team. But it’s not gonna happen.

    He wouldn’t be the top player in the game, and there’s no way his pride could handle getting beaten by young kids like Kobe Bryant. In his prime, he could handle anybody, but he is well past his prime and two years removed from professional basketball. His workouts with the Wizards and health club basketball endeavors don’t come close to simulating a live NBA game and he knows it.

    Jordan, who helped spread the rumors by refusing to comment until recently, reiterated his views on returning as still “”99.9 percent”” unlikely. When Jordan retired, he wanted to retire on top, as the best player in the game, which he did by sinking the game-winning shot to propel the Bulls to their sixth championship. If he did come back, he would not leave basketball on top, because the Wizards need about five Jordans to come even close to being a playoff team, let alone a championship team.

    No, Jordan is not coming back to the NBA, although it would be a handy excuse to divest his partial ownership of the Wizards. This rumor is being fanned by fellow Wizards owner Abe Pollin, who no doubt is part of this treachery. This rumor has one sole purpose, and that is to attract players such as Barkley and Webber to Washington in a pathetic attempt to increase the team’s talent level, because no player in his right mind would come of his own free will to Washington.

    Even Mario Lemieux, Jordan’s friend and golfing buddy, is involved in the farce. After staging a successful comeback of his own to professional hockey, Lemieux said recently that Jordan is definitely coming back — Lemieux phrased it, “”He’s taking his time. I’m sure when he gets back, he’ll be the best player again.””

    Yeah right. I sincerely hope this is a conspiracy by the Wizards’ owners, since I know that if Jordan does come back, he will not be the best player in the league. It will break my heart to see this proud warrior defeated by brash youngsters who wouldn’t have stood a chance against Jordan in his prime.

    Not only will it break the hearts of fans, but it will tarnish Jordan’s legacy and ruin his reputation as the game’s greatest player. That would be more harmful to professional basketball than this deception ever could be.

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