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April 12, 2001 - Image 16

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-04-12

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16A -- The Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 12, 2001
M '99.9 percent sure' he's not returning

WASHINGTON (AP) -- On the
court, Michael Jordan was always one
of a kind. His chances of playing
again? A mere one in a thousand.
Responding to comments made by
fellow Washington Wizards owner
Abe Pollin, Jordan again played down
the notion that he's planning a come-
back, repeating his previous estimate
that he's "99.9 percent sure" that he's
retired for good.
"I haven't wavered one bit from
what I've been saying," Jordan told
The Washington Post for yesterday's
editions. "If I had to answer today,
I'm 99.9 percent sure I won't play
again.
"-I'm not going to come back as a
showpiece. I wouldn't even think
about it unless I thought I could main-
tain the level of play I had when I left.
I'd only come back doing everything I
always did. And I'm nowhere near

that, nowhere close to that. I haven't
played in three years."
While Jordan has been adamant in
his denials, he has yet to completely
close the door on a comeback bid. He
has also yet to deny the rumors in a
public forum, instead using more low-
key method of private, one-on-one
interviews to make his case.
Which is why his oft-stated one-
tenth of one percent chance has been
enough to keep the comeback stories
afloat for two months, and why his lat-
est statement will do little to end the
speculation.
Even some of Jordan's friends, such
as golfing buddy and Pittsburgh Pen-
guins' star Mario Lemieux, have not
believed him.
Lemieux, speaking Tuesday after a
Penguins practice, said he talked to
Jordan in the last 10 days and made it
sound like His Airness was all but

ready to don the uniform.
"He's going to give it a shot and
he's working very hard," Lemieux
said. "He's taking his time. He's tak-
ing a few months to get ready, but I'm
sure when he gets back, he'll be the
best player again."
Jordan was the talk of the nation's
capital on Tuesday, the day after Pollin
went on television to reveal his "gut
feeling" that "the odds are that he's
going to come back" and play for
Washington next season.
"I didn't think he'd come back when
I first heard the talk," Pollin said. "But
when Mario Lemieux came back to the
Penguins, it stirred something in
Michael."
Jordan also owns a small piece of
the Wizards, and he would have to
divest his ownership under NBA rules
before returning to the court.
"He owns a part of the Wizards, he
owns a part of the Capitals," Leonsis
told WTOP radio. "There would have
to be lots of discussions between
Michael and me, Michael and Abe,
Michael and the league, and none of
that is happening. If this was real, I
think we would be further down that

road."
Pollin and others who give credence
to the possibility of a Jordan come-
back usually cite three pieces of evi-
dence: Jordan's workouts with the
Wizards and his admission that he is
playing basketball recreationally at a
health club; Charles Barkley's state-
ment that he would like to play with
Jordan in Washington next season;
and Jordan's sheer competitiveness
that is fueled by the knowledge he still
had plenty left when he retired from
the Chicago Bulls after the 1997-98
season.
"Sure, it's fun to think about it,"
Jordan told the Post, "seeing where I
am in terms of fitness and psyche. But
look at the reality of it. Where's the
test? Playing against guys recreation-
ally at the health club? I'm not even'
in position to think about it. Right
now, it's recreational to me if I'm not
capable of playing at that level, I
wouldn't do it. I'm nowhere near
what would have to be to even consid-
er playing."
Jordan practiced with the Wizards
last week, wearing his old No. 23. He
rolled his eyes in disbelief when the

subject of a comeback was broached
by reporters afterward.
"The only thing this signals is that
I'm getting some exercise," Jordan
said at the time.
While there are those who believe a
comeback will happen and those who
believe it won't, a common middle-
ground is that Jordan simply hasn't
made up his mind and therefore is reti-
cent to deny the rumors before a larger
audience.
"I think he's waiting to see what he
feels like when he's out there," Los
Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson,
Jordan's former coach with the Bulls,
said recently. "I think he will have a
parachute in case he doesn't want to do
it, in case he feels like it's not worth it,
in case he doesn't feel he can play up
to the level he wants to."
. Jordan has a five-year contract with
the Wizards. He initially retired as a
player in 1993 after winning three
NBA titles with Chicago and tried to
make a career in professional baseball.
But he returned to the Bulls for the
NBA playoffs in 1995 and played
through 1998, winning three more
titles. -

Downtown 120. S. State Street
662-4536
Maundy Thursday Communion 7:00 pm
Community Good Friday Services
12:30, 1:00, 130 pm
EASTER CELEBRATION
9:30 and 11:00 am
Sermon: "God's Great Amen"
Nursery at all services " Church School 9:30 am
Free Sunday parking at Liberty Sq, Deck
Radio Broadcast: 11:00 a.m Sunday WTKA 1050 AM
Green Wood 1001 Green Road
665-8558
Good Friday 7:00 pm
Easter Saturday 5:00 pm
Easter Sunrise Service 7:00 am
Continental Brunch 8:00 am

MJ -the first time he returned - in MJ--(left) after his retirement - on the
1995. back nine with Mario Lemieux (right).

Netters beat,
Spartans-
agai, 601
By Allison Topp
For the Daily
Last night marked the 100th meet-
ing between the Michigan and Michi-
gan State men's tennis teams. The
intrastate battle has been dominated
by the Wolverines with a winning
record of 82-17. Going into the match,
having won the last I I meetings, the
Wolverines were heavily favored in
the intense rivalry. History proved
that it repeats itself with Michigan
winning 6-1.
"We're peaking at the right time of
the season," assistant coach Dan
Goldberg said. "We've increased the
difficulty of our schedule and that has
led to a tough season. The advantage
of that is we were really able to chal-
lenge ourselves."
By challenging themselves, not
only have the players had to improve
physically, but mentally as well.@
Without any seniors to provide the
leadership that only maturity and
experience can provide, some facets
of the team's dynamics have suffered.
The lack of experience caused a
problem for the players at the doubles
spots early in the season. But the dou-
bles have improved their play
immensely. The turn around was evi-
dent last night as the Wolverines
swept the doubles to go up 1-0 in the.
match.
Every singles match was won in
straight sets except for the final
match. The only loss of the night was
a bitter fight at No. I singles between
Henry Beam and Michigan State's
Eric Simonton. Beam took the first set
in a tiebreaker 7-6, but then Simonton
came back to take the victory in the
last two sets, 7-5 and 7-5. 0
Even with the convincing victory in
East Lansing, the Wolverines aren't
taking anything for granted. Next up
will be a match on Easter Sunday
against Iowa.
"At 1-5 in the Big Ten so far this
season, Iowa's record can be deceiv-
ing. Many of those losses have been
by a score of 3-4," Goldberg said.
"We're going to work as hard as pos-
sible to prepare for the match on Sun*
day."
By shutting out the Spartans, the
team not only won the game, but
received a huge boost of confidence.
With the Big Ten Championships
coming up in two weeks, Michigan
has gained momentum with its fourth-
straight victory.
"As the season has progressed our
team has gained confidence and matu@
rity," Goldberg said.
CHIPPEWAS
Continued from Page 12A
one-two-three inning from either Maris-
sa Young's strikeouts or slapped balls.
But Jennifer Skuta stepped up to the
plate and hit the ball deep into right-cen-
ter that sent Taylor flying.
Taylor made a diving catch bu
injured her shoulder while skidding o

the grass.
"I hurt my shoulder a little bit from
jamming it into the ground," Taylor said.
One inning later, after Kollen --
named the Big Ten Player of the Week,
this week - had driven in another run,
Taylor went flying again. This time it
was in front of the Michigan dugout to
catch a foul ball.
"I always run for them, but yesterday
in practice, we worked on reading where
the pitch is hit," Taylor said. "They
pitched the girl inside, so I got a good
jump on it."
Young didn't allow Central more
than three at-bats per inning for the rest
of the game, allowing Michigan to cap
the victory 8-1.
In the second game, Young made the
shift to first base, and Marie Barda took
over hurling.
Striking out seven, the senior only
allowed just three runners to get on base
and was well on her way to pitching a
no-hitter, until the top of the seventh
when Kim Burke hit a single to left.
"When we have a doubleheader like
this, and (Marissa) pitches the first
game, she is able to tell me hitters to
look out for," Barda said. "We wort-
together like that."
The Wolverines racked up 10 hits of
their own in game two. Young, Volpe
and Kim Bugel drove in runners to
account for Michigan's 3-0 win.
But the victories were more than just
another two "W" marks in the record
hook The games boasted a mini-

Liz

wwe

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