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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Jordan's all the talk on NBA draft day

By Jim O'Connell
Associated Press

NEW YORK — As 14 of the players expected to be among the first taken in today's NBA draft gathered in a hotel ballroom yesterday, one name dominated the conversations.

Whether it was the high school stars who would soon be millionaires or the few upperclassmen set to round out the lottery, Michael Jordan was talked about for a lot of reasons.

As the man who runs the Washington Wizards, the team with the overall No. 1 pick, Jordan will get the draft started at Madison Square Garden with either a selection or a trade.

Most of the players the NBA invited to be at the draft have worked out for Jordan and it seems, until their name is called, that would lead the list of personal highlights.

"We talked for a while," 7-foot Tyson Chandler of Compton, Calif., one of six high school seniors available in the draft, said yesterday. "The workout was really good. It went really well."

Then Chandler was asked about what it would be like if Jordan were to make a comeback and play again in the NBA.

"That would be a dream for any player of any age," he said. "If he came back it would be a great opportunity for whoever they draft."

Kwame Brown, a 6-11 center from Brunswick, Ga., started talking about his workout for Jordan in a businesslike tone, then started sounding more like a 19-year-old.

"Everybody knew what it was for, so we came in and played," Brown said. "He was really good, though. He joked around a lot. Even though he wasn't on the court with us, he still had an impact."

The Washington Post, citing sources close to the situation, reported today that the Wizards would use their No. 1 pick to take Brown. Jordan hasn't given any indication of his plans, and no high school player ever has been the overall No. 1.

Notre Dame junior Troy Murphy heard the rumors in the past few weeks that the Wizards would trade down to get more immediate help and that the two-time Big East player of the year might be the one Jordan would then choose.

"That would be an honor, definitely," Murphy said. "Just to be the guy drafted by the greatest player would be great but if he went out of his way to get you it would be something to tell for years to come."

Each of the players said they would love to play with Jordan, but they also said they would want to play for him as well.

"Michael Jordan is the greatest player to ever play the game," said Charlotte freshman Rodney White. "If you can't learn from him, who can you learn from?"

The Clippers have the second choice, followed in the top 10 by Atlanta, Chicago, Golden State, Vancouver, New Jersey, Cleveland, Detroit and Boston, which also holds the 11th and 21st picks.

With the draft less than 24 hours away, there were plenty of scenarios for who would be going where.

"I thought I would know by now," Seton Hall freshman Eddie Griffin said. "This is a deep draft with a lot of players the same. All I know is it will make it real hard to sleep tonight."