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Archive for Friday, June 20, 2003

Is Jordan headed to da’ Bucks?

June 20, 2003

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— A city shrugs as its hero passes through on his way to yet another journey of personal discovery.

"Michael Jordan is going to own the Milwaukee Bucks?" residents ask one another. "No way!"

Almost every day brings another reminder Jordan will not be back at work in the town that adopted him. Not only that, but according to the latest reports, he is trying to become the principal owner of the hated Bucks, barely 90 minutes to the north.

Jordan retired as a player for the third time this spring -- it might be the charm -- and Wizards owner Abe Pollin informed him soon after that his services as president of basketball operations were no longer needed. Inquiring NBA minds have been trying to figure out how and where Jordan would begin scheming to get even ever since.

The early favorite was Charlotte, right after billionaire businessman Robert Johnson paid $300 million to relaunch a franchise there for the 2004-05 season. And it didn't hurt speculation when Johnson, already a Jordan pal, said finding office space wouldn't be a problem.

"He can play any role he wants to play, frankly," Johnson said.

Except owner.

Which explains all the time Jordan apparently has been spending in Milwaukee.

ESPN.com Wednesday quoted league sources as saying an ownership group led by Jordan could be in control of the Bucks as early as July. Jordan has been playing it coy recently, but his original flirtation with the Bucks was largely ignored to find out whether he would return as a player.

Now, according to the ESPN reports, bucks owner Herb Kohl is asking $170 million for the Bucks and Jordan is willing to kick in $50 million of his own-- provided he gets the last word in all basketball decisions.

That leaves $120 million to be split among the partners, none of whom should expect much say for their money. Whoever said there is nothing so limited as being a limited partner of George Steinbrenner's obviously never worked alongside Jordan.

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