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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona • Page 37
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona • Page 37

Arizona Republici
Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Extracted Article Text (OCR)

Thursday, October 7, 1993 The Arizona Republic D7 44 He's a prisoner. He feels trapped. He can 't breathe anymore, and there isn 't anything anybody can do about it. James Jordan JORDAN'S FATHER, WHEN MICHAEL WASN'T SPEAKING TO THE PRESS IN MAY "1 ii ei in in ii ii ii ii ti i ii iw ti ir ii Inlll END OF AN ERA Michael Jordan, one of basketball's greatest players, announced his retirement trom the Chicago Bulls. )utlis cherish Jordan le gacy Jordan's career highlights: NBA players with 20,000 or more career points: 1.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 38,387 2. Wilt Chamberlain 31,419 3. Elvin Hayes 27,313 4. x-Moses Malone 27,066 5. Oscar Robertson 26,710 6.

John Havlicek 26,395 7. Alex English 25,613 8. Jerry West 25,192 9. Adrian Dantley 23,177 10. Elgin Baylor 23,149 11.

x-Dominique Wilkins 22,096 12. Larry Bird 21,791 13. Hal Greer 21,586 Three-time regular season most valuable player, 1987-88, Won three consecutive NBA Finals MVPs (1991-93) By Richard Obert The Arizona Republic He has his posters to look at. He has his video: to remember his moves. And, if he could afford it, he would have a jersey and shoes endorsed by Michael Jordan.

"Jordan is everything I try to be: flashy, aggressive, hard-working, a great competitor," said Keith Brown, a 16-year-old high school sophomore who was at Harmon Park Gym on Wednesday, trying to be like Mike. After hearing the news of the retirement of the Chicago Bulls' superstar at the peak of his career, Brown took out the tape of some of Jordan's greatest dunks and replayed it over and over. "That's what I remember him used to see Jordan play at Chicago Stadium while he was visiting aunts and uncles, isn't so sure Jordan's legacy will be missed. He believes someone such as Shaquille O'Neal will become the new idol. "It's shocking, but all that pain he's feeling with the loss of his father, you can kind of see how he feels," Rhymes said.

"I think now it's going to be Shaq or somebody else, and kids are just going to forget about Michael after a while, like they did Magic (Johnson). "Most people only like people who are playing." But Brown said memories of Jordan never will fade from his mind. "It's sad," Brown said. "You just wonder if there's ever going to be anything like him again. I doubt it." John Smith III, a 14-year-old freshman at Carl Hayden, is the son of former Harlem Globetrotter John Smith Jr.

He said his father used to take him to see Jordan play and talk about his discipline and determination more than his flashy moves. "He's a big role model to a lot of kids," Smith said. "Everybody knows how Jordan plays. But what I liked most about him was how kind he seemed to be. "I'm not really shocked that he's stepping away from the game.

I heard how he always wanted his mom and dad at his games. After his dad died, you had to wonder if he still had his heart into it." Wayne Rhymes, a 14-year-old freshman from Carl Hayden who by," he said. "There are no greater moments in the NBA." Jordan undoubtedly has left countless youths all over the United States feeling a great loss! Jordan was the talk around Isaac Junior High on Wednesday morning, said Dan Nichols, who, last season, coached the basketball team to a 28-0 record. "Kids would come up and say to each other, 'Did you Nichols said. "That's all they had to say.

Everybody knew who they were talking about. "More than any other player, they talk about Michael Jordan. All that stuff about the gambling, that doesn't affect the way the kids feel about him. They love him as much as anybody." 0 Second player to win seven straight scoring titles. 1986-87 to 1992-93 (Wilt Chamberlain, 14.

15--16. 'Ajv. 18. x-Robert Parish 21,628 Michael Jordan 21,541 Walt Bellamy 20,941 Bob Pettit 20,880 George Gervin 20,708 (x-active) p. 1960-66) NBA defensive player of the year, 1988 NBA Rookie of the Year, 1 984-85 NBA All-Star Game MVP, 1988 How Jordan compares with NBA greats of his era Avg.

assists Avg. rebounds 3 LARRY BIRD Avg. points MICHAEL JORDAN MAGIC JOHNSON goes 32.3 off the Air, stay tuned I 5 9 6 1 fffaSs 7.3 I I 6.3 OLdo ilEduUu Liual Source: NBA MIKE, fix The Associated Piess pageDl Fans privilege' ti i ML 7 to see Jordan 'Like watching Babe Ruth play' I i i WW 3- 7 Mi 1 Scott TroyanosThe Associated Press Michael Jordan, celebrating the Bulls' most recent NBA title in June, was the league's most valuable player three times. the media gathering, which numbered 400 or more, flashed his grin. Jordan observed that this was the largest media crowd he could remember "without there being a scandal." Ouch.

It was the first of several zingers he delivered to "you guys" he called us collectively. Jordan will miss some things in retirement, he said. The camaraderie of his teammates. His playful game with Bulls broadcaster Johnny "Red" Kerr. Before every game, Jordan poured resin powder into his palm, walked over to Kerr at his courtside seat and slapped his hands together, creating a choking white dust cloud.

During the news conference, Kerr the Suns' first head coach approached the table where Jordan sat and, clapping his powder-filled hands, returned the favor. Jordan also will miss battling friends such as Charles Barkley, to whom he said he hasn't spoken lately. "Charles changes his (phone) number every week," Jordan said. "We've always talked about retiring at the same time, but it's a little different scenario for him. I've already accomplished a lot.

He still has things he wants to achieve." Pause. Smile. "I've been standing in his way." Jordan may, in time, miss the competition enough that he could return, and he left the door open. But he said he wouldn't miss the spotlight and wouldn't miss those in the press, who he said pried into his personal life "because you couldn't find anything wrong with my game." Michael Jordan came to say goodbye to basketball. He shed no tears.

On this day that he knew would come, if not now, then later, he was composed and almost businesslike, although his voice grew soft and tender as he spoke lovingly of his late father, who during the NBA Finals, a month before he was slain, described his son's state of mind better than Michael could. "He's a prisoner," James Jordan said of Michael's worldwide fame. "He feels trapped. He can't breathe anymore, and there isn't anything anybody can do about it." That's why Jordan said goodbye with a smile. He hopes retirement will free him from the intense media scrutiny.

If he wants to play golf and gamble, he will. If he wants to frequent the green felt tables in Atlantic City, he will. "Retirement," Jordan said, "means you can do anything you want." Jordan no longer wanted to play basketball in the NBA. He lost that burning desire. What better time to go out, than in your prime, when you're on top? How many athletes do? It must have been more difficult than it appeared for Jordan to say farewell.

But that's the way he is. He made the game look easy, too. "Michael!" one questioner cried, his voice shrill as a magpie. His voice was drowned out by another. Finally, weary of the cross-examination, Jordan rose from his seat.

He waved goodbye. Jacketed security guards from Comiskey Park moved in aiound him and led him out a back door his escape to a new life, and hopefully, a happy one. MICHAEL JORDAN'S CAREER STATISTICS By Bill Barnard The Associated Press Michael Jordan had a special way of soaring to the basket, to NBA records and 'championships and into the world's imagination. "Be like the commercial said, and seemingly everyone in sneakers tried, even if everyone knew it was impossible to duplicate the style, grace and talent of the Chicago Bulls star. If Jordan does not change his mind and return to the NBA a month, six months, a year or two from now if the competitive fire that moves his talent is truly extinguished, his stamp on sports, not just basketball, will be indelible.

"A great period in basketball history has ended with Michael's retirement. What a tremendous nine-year run he's had in the NBA," said Dean Smith, who coached Jordan at North Carolina. "I personally think it's a good decision based on all he must go through and to certainly go out on top after three world championships. He seems comfortable with his decision, and that's extremely important." Who can forget the gravity-defying, tongue-wagging flights to the basket? Who can forget the 63 points in a playoff game against the Boston Celtics in 1986 when he single-handedly almost beat one of the NBA's greatest teams? Who can forget the six three-pointers in one half of a 1992 NBA Finals game against the Portland Trail Blazers, when he shrugged his shoulders for the television audience as if to say, "How can I help being me?" Who can forget when he drove to the basket, soared over everyone, switched the ball to his left hand in midair and laid the ball in against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals in 1991? Who can forget Jordan crying with relief as he clutched Chicago's first NBA Championship trophy that same year, his father next to him, happily consoling him? "I can remember a time when I was watching him on TV and then to be on the same court as him was a great feeling. He's great," said Orlando Magic center Shaquille O'Neal, whose popularity as a rookie last season has been compared to Jordan's.

"All the things you see him do on TV, jumping on one side of the lane, ending up on the other side of the lane, its for real. He's the best in the world, and I'm going to miss him." Who can forget the last-second baskets against Cleveland that broke the hearts of the Cavaliers twice in the playoffs? "He will stick in the minds of everyone who played the game, watched the game and enjoyed the game," Cavaliers guard Gerald Wilkins said. Jordan's exploits on the court finally spread to a world arena. His NBA salary was limited by the league's salary cap, but he's made millions more in endorsements. Air Jordan shoes made Nike, and Nike, along with the NBA, made Jordan the most recognizable face and name in sports.

And his involvement with the shoe company will continue. "Our nine-year creative collaboration has always been more than an endorsement deal," Nike Chief Executive Officer Phillip Knight said. "It is a partnership that will continue, and we have already discussed future plans." People who have never seen a basketball game know who Michael Jordan is. History will judge how Jordan will be remembered decades from now, but it could be a generation before another player commands the respect that Jordan commands. "We may never see his like again in every small-town back yard and paved city lot where kids play one-on-one and dream of being like Mike," President Clinton said.

NBA experts always assumed that teams needed a dominant big man to succeed on a long-term basis. Magic Johnson, a 6-foot-9 guard, won five NBA titles, but he shared the glory with 7-2 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, still a commanding force late in his 20-year career. The 6-6 Jordan, despite having teammates who were proficient at playing roles that were important to the team's success, stood virtually alone as the Bulls won their third straight NBA championship in June. "Every time I went into the gym for a workout or to practice, he was the guy I went in to practice against," said Isiah Thomas of the Detroit Pistons, who engaged in many memorable battles against Jordan and the Bulls. "The rivalry will suffer a bit.

First Magic and Larry (Bird). Now Michael. I'm starting to feel alone." When there was a playoff or regular-season Most Valuable Player Award to be won, Jordan won it. If there was a game to be won in the fourth quarter, Jordan won it. And he did it the last two seasons under the harsh light of media scrutiny over his gambling.

Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf summed up the feeling of the team, the city of Chicago and basketball fans everywhere: "It has been a privilege for all of us to watch him play. It must have been like watching Babe Ruth play." Year FG FT Reb Pts PPG '81 82 34 .534 .722 149 460 13.5 '8283 36 .535 .737 197 721 20.0 '83-84 31 .551 .779 163 607 19.6 Total 101 .540 .748 509 1,788 17.7 'I'M- ijj FG 82 .515 18 .457 82 .482 82 .535 81 .538 82 .526 82 .539 80 .519 78 .495 Year '84-85 '85 86 '86 87 '87-88 '88-89 '89 90 '90 91 '91-92 '92-93 Ast PPG 481 28.2 53 22.7 377 37.1 485 35.0 650 32.5 519 33.6 453 31.5 489 30.1 428 32.6 3,935 32.3 FT Reb .845 534 .840 64 .857 430 .841 449 .850 652 848 565 851 492 832 511 837 522 846 4,219 I I ir 1 7 1 Total 667 .516 Year 4 3 3 10 17 16 17 '84-85 '85-86 '86-87 '87-88 '88-89 '89-90 '90 91 PPG 29.3 43.7 35.7 36.3 34.8 36.7 31.1 34.5 35.1 34.7 Ast 34 17 18 47 130 109 142 127 114 738 Reb 23 19 21 71 119 115 108 137 128 741 FG FT .436 .828 .505 .872 .417 .897 .531 .869 .510 .799 .514 .836 .524 .845 .499 .857 .475 .805 .501 .834 '91-92 22 '9293 19 Total 111 John Gaps IllThe Associated Press Michael Jordan was a member of the Dream Team, which won the gold medal at the '92 Summer Olympics at Barcelona, Spain. He also won a gold in 1984. The Arizona Republic.

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